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Jamaican Dancehall star, Vybz Kartel denied bail following overturned murder conviction

Jamaican dancehall star, Vybz Kartel will reportedly remain behind bars despite his murder conviction recently being overturned.

Jamaica Supreme Court Justice Andrea Thomas on Thursday, May 30, handed down the ruling, stating that without a verdict or acquittal by the Privy Council, the murder charge against them remains in effect.

“In view of the fact that their appeal is not yet determined, they should remain in custody until their appeal is concluded… That is until a verdict of acquittal is entered or there is a decision for a retrial,” Justice Thomas said.

On Wednesday, the prosecution and defense members made arguments in Kartel’s habeas corpus case, which would have determined whether the artist would be granted bail.

Lawyers representing Kartel and two of his three co-accused filed the habeas corpus application on Monday, May 14, seeking their release due to issues the defense did not wish to disclose.

The application follows the Privy Council’s March 14 ruling that Kartel and his co-accused have their convictions overturned for the 2011 murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams. The Privy Council ordered that the case be returned to Jamaica’s Appeal Court to decide whether a retrial is necessary for Kartel and his co-accused, Shawn ‘Shawn Storm’ Campbell, Kahira Jones, and Andre St John.

The Privy Council’s ruling followed an appeal made in February by lawyers representing the then-convicts, who argued various grounds, including the admissibility of telecommunication evidence, allegations of jury misconduct, and pressure on the jury to reach a verdict.

Since the ruling, Kartel has remained in prison.

Shortly after, Kartel questioned the need for a retrial in a statement to Fox 5 News, saying, “I feel victorious in this very moment as the Privy Council, in their infinite wisdom, understood the assignment and remedied the situation by quashing my conviction! I am now back to being an innocent man in the eyes of the law.”

A grave injustice was done to me and my co-accused in the original trial… and my cries were heard in the land’s highest court.”

He added: “I am confident that the Court of Appeal in Jamaica will do the right thing in the name of equity, fairness, and justice and free us. Some people have expressed their concern to me that a retrial may be ordered, but to them I say (albeit with my limited knowledge of the law), ‘What is there to retry?’”

In April 2014, Kartel was sentenced to life in prison with eligibility for parole after serving 35 years. His co-accused were also handed life sentences, with Shawn Storm and Jones being eligible for parole after 25 years, and St John being eligible after 15 years.

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