Vybz Kartel’s Heart Operating At 50%, Lawyers Ask Judge To Deny Prosecutors Retrial

The content originally appeared on: Urban Islandz

Vybz Kartel leaving court 2014

Criminal defense lawyers closed their arguments on Wednesday after making representations for Vybz Kartel, Shawn Storm, Kahira Jones, and Andre St. John, urging that the Privy Council should not order a retrial for the men.

Ahead of the closing arguments, John Clarke, one of the defense lawyers, raised the question that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution needed to show strong cause as to why the men should stand retrial, given the Privy Council’s ruling in March that several constitutional breaches caused it to quash the murder conviction.

Justice Marva McDonald-Bishop also noted the attorney’s concerns that the current breaches and any pending breach that might occur if a retrial is ordered must be considered.

Among the concerns raised by the defense is the question of evidence to be adduced in the trial from witnesses. According to Clarke, witnesses may not be available or unable to recall their previous testimony because the trial took place in 2014. He also argued that there is a great likelihood that the artist’s rights will be breached, and it is now for the prosecution to show that where a citizen’s right is abrogated, it is “demonstrably justified in a democratic society.”

The matter of Kartel’s health was also disclosed by his attorney, Isat Buchanan, who tendered an affidavit from his medical doctor which said the artist’s heart was functioning at 50% due to the impact of Grave’s Disease, which he suffers.

According to Nationwide News, the attorney revealed that along with the effect of Grave’s Disease on his health, Kartel was also “mentally unwell” and that he was suffering from mental defects, which was cited in a second medical affidavit by Dr. Gregory Walcott. The affidavit reportedly speaks to the artist suffering from anxiety and mental weakness, and his lawyer urged that in totality the trial, appeal and retrial process is having a devastating impact on the artist’s mental health.

The attorneys also argued that the decade-long incarceration of Kartel and his co-accused has impacted their family life and their ability to earn and support their children, some 17 of which are listed for Vybz Kartel.

According to Buchanan, Kartel faced heavy burdens during the trial, including having to pay legal fees for himself and all the appellants during the first trial and a hefty medical bill due to his declining health.

Kahira Jones also revealed that his legal bills were in the realm of almost $70 million. The 40-year-old man’s affidavit also addressed the court on his constitutional right to family life as he lamented that he could not enjoy the intimacy of courtship or having children. He was taken into custody at 27 years old and has been unable to start a family.

In the meantime, the defense lawyers argued that the men had much more to lose if a retrial was ordered. Given the circumstances of the original trial being deemed unfair, this should be a factor in assessing whether justice would be served by ordering a new trial.

The prosecution will commence arguments on Thursday. The arguments are expected to be wrapped by Friday.

Tags: Vybz Kartel