Court Dismisses Kartel, Co-Convicts’ Sentence Appeal


(Jamaica Observer)

The Appeal Court has dismissed the challenge filed by murder convicts Vybz Kartel, Shawn Campbell, Kahira Jones, and Andre St John that their sentences for murder were excessive. However, the court slashed by 30 months the time each must serve before they become eligible for parole.

The court handed down the judgement yesterday, saying the appeals on behalf of the four “are all dismissed and the convictions are all confirmed”.

Lawyers for the four, who were convicted for the 2011 murder of an associate, Clive “Lizard” Williams, had argued before the Appeal Court that the sentences handed down by Justice Lennox Campbell on April 3, 2014 were excessive. They had also questioned the integrity and admissibility of the evidence in the case as well as the conduct of the trial judge, among other things.

Kartel, a dancehall deejay whose given name is Adidja Palmer, was sentenced to life behind bars. The judge at the time said he would be eligible for parole after serving 35 years. His co-convicts were also given mandatory life sentences and had been ordered to each serve 25 years before becoming eligible for parole.

On April 3 this year, Appeal Court President Justice Dennis Morrison, in handing down the court’s decision on the four men’s challenge to their convictions, said the decision in respect of sentence was further reserved, pending the receipt from counsel, within seven days, of a brief note concerning the time spent on remand by each of the appellants, prior to being sentenced.

Justice Morrison, who had appeared with Justice Patrick Brooks and Justice Frank Williams also said the court would render its decision on sentencing in writing within 14 days’ receipt of that note.

Yesterday, the court said having regard to the contents of the note received on April 9, 2020 from Tom Tavares-Finson QC, for and on behalf of the attorneys-at-law for all the appellants, the order of the court in respect of sentence is as follows:

1. Save as indicated in order number 2 below, the appeals of Messrs Campbell, Palmer, Jones and St John against their respective sentences are all dismissed and the sentences are affirmed.

2. The period of imprisonment to be served by each appellant before becoming eligible for parole is reduced by two years and six months. Accordingly, the times to be served before being eligible for parole shall be as follows:

a. Mr Campbell – 22 years and 6 months

b. Mr Palmer – 32 years and 6 months

c. Mr Jones – 22 years and 6 months

d. Mr St John – 27 years and 6 months

3. The sentences shall each be reckoned to have commenced on 3 April 2014.

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