The United Kingdom-based Privy Council has rejected an application by Jamaican dancehall artist Vybz Kartel for leave to challenge his murder conviction, along with similar appeals filed by his three co-convicts. The court also refused their applications for an extension of time and to adduce fresh evidence, stating that the grounds for the appeal do not support the submission that a serious miscarriage of justice has occurred in the case.
The ruling was handed down on Tuesday, February 21st, and the Privy Council, which serves as Jamaica’s final appellate court, stated that the decision means Kartel, whose real name is Adidja Palmer, along with fellow entertainer Shawn Storm, real name Shawn Campbell, as well as Kahira Jones and Andre St John, will have to serve out their respective prison terms imposed by the Jamaican court.
The four men were convicted in 2014 for killing Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams in 2011, but Williams’ body was never recovered. Kartel was ordered to serve 35 years before he is eligible for parole, while Shawn Storm’s parole eligibility period was set at 25 years. St John and Jones will have to serve 30 and 25 years respectively before they are eligible for parole. However, the defense attorneys have been given seven days by the Appeal Court judges to submit documents for them to consider a reduction in sentence for the convicted men.
This decision marks a significant setback for Kartel, who has been fighting to overturn his conviction since he was first found guilty in 2014. The case has drawn widespread attention in Jamaica and beyond, given the popularity of Kartel’s music and the prominence of dancehall in the country’s culture.
Despite this setback, Kartel and his co-convicts still have the option of seeking a reduction in their sentences, and their attorneys will be working to make the case for this in the coming days. In any case, this decision marks a major turning point in the long-running legal battle over the murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams, and it will be watched closely by observers in Jamaica and around the world.