Thu | Jun 13, 2024

Jury pool for possible Kartel retrial tainted by 'Sir P', other vloggers, claims Shawn Storm’s sister

Published:Monday | June 10, 2024 | 2:30 PM
Entertainer Vybz Kartel (left) and Shawn Storm leave the Home Circuit Court where they were sentenced to life imprisonment on Thursday, April 3, 2014. - File photo

Sister for incarcerated entertainer Shawn 'Shawn Storm' Campbell has submitted that widespread discussions about the murder case on popular YouTube programmes like Politricks Watch will result in her brother and his co-accused not getting a fair trial, if a retrial is permitted.

“I have seen many social media posts from bloggers like Sir P, who do not conform to any of the traditional norms of journalism who have widespread viewership who espoused all the wildest theories which will undoubtedly influence many Jamaicans who cannot be counted on to be so entranced by the Bible foisted up and confess their bias,” she said in her affidavit.

The argument was highlighted this morning by Acting Director of Public Prosecutions, Claudette Thompson, during a preliminary objection in which she asked the Court of Appeal to rule that the pleading should not be allowed. However, the court was of the view that arguments about the effects of pre-trial publicity should be allowed.

Campbell's sister further submitted that she did not believe that the Jamaican court, which she described as having an inadequate jury vetting and polling system, will be able to find unbiased jurors and get them to serve. She also said it is doubtful whether any trial judge's direction could cure any consequent unfairness.

Meanwhile, the court has struck out arguments from one of Kartel's sons claiming that the entertainer is unable to participate in another trial because of his ill health.

Justice Marva McDonald-Bishop in rejecting the claim that Kartel's heart could not sustain a retrial, said the court would only be able to entertain such a claim if there was evidence from a medical expert.

She also struck out the claim from the son that his grandmother prays every night for his father, noting that the court is not able to say whether he witnessed her praying nightly.

Several excerpts from affidavits submitted by the two entertainers and their co-accused Kahira Jones, and Andre St John, were struck out as argumentative, speculative and legal arguments during the prosecution objection raised this morning at the hearing to determine whether the men are to be retired or a judgment of acquittal should be handed down.

The men, who were charged with the murder of Clive 'Lizard' Williams in September 2011, were convicted in March 2014 for Williams' murder and sentenced to life in prison a month later. 

The Court of Appeal upheld their convictions in 2020.

However, on March 14, 2024, the United Kingdom-based Privy Council, Jamaica's final court of appeal, overturned the convictions on the grounds of juror misconduct.

Kartel and Campbell are represented by Isat Buchanan and Alessandra LeBeach while Jones and St John are represented by John Clarke and Iqbal Chevarria.

- Tanesha Mundle

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