Privy Council Deliberates: Ruling Expected in Vybz Kartel Appeal Within Months

The much-anticipated two-day hearing at the Privy Council regarding the appeal of Vybz Kartel and his co-accused concluded on Thursday in London.

The focus of Thursday’s session centered once again on the contentious jury issues that have been at the heart of the appeal process.

Throughout the hearing, it became evident that the primary concern for the judges revolved around the jury’s composition and behavior during the trial.

Specifically, the court delved into whether a juror’s attempt to bribe the forewoman should have led to their dismissal and whether sending the jury to deliberate late in the day could have unduly pressured them into reaching a verdict.


Representing the government, British Kings Counsel Peter Knox argued that the trial judge had exercised discretion appropriately in sending the jury to deliberate and had provided sufficient directions to mitigate any potential bias.

Knox emphasised the strength of the evidence presented against the defendants, suggesting that any risk of bias was minimal and did not affect the fairness of the verdict.

He proposed that if the court found fault, the matter should be referred back to the Jamaican Court of Appeal for consideration of a retrial.

In contrast, British Kings Counsel Hugh Southy, representing the appellants, contended that the trial judge’s instructions to the jury were inadequate, particularly given the circumstances involving the dismissed juror and the attempted bribery.

Southy proposed that if bribery posed a systemic issue within the Jamaican justice system, legislative amendments akin to those in Britain should be considered.

He argued against ordering a new trial, citing Kartel’s high profile and the passage of time since the initial conviction, which he claimed would compromise the possibility of a fair retrial.

The Privy Council is now expected to deliberate on the case and deliver its ruling within the next three to four months, marking a pivotal moment in the protracted legal battle surrounding Vybz Kartel and his co-defendants.


Vybz Kartel, born Adidja Palmer, along with Shawn ‘Shawn Storm’ Campbell, Kahira Jones, and Andre ‘Mad Suss’ St. John, were convicted on March 13, 2014, for the murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams, a case that has garnered widespread attention both domestically and internationally.

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