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Vybz Kartel sentenced to life in prison, to serve 35 years before parole

Published: Thursday April 3, 2014 | 11:24 am Comments 0
Kartel leaving court after sentencing today. - Jermaine Barnaby Photo
Kartel leaving court after sentencing today. - Jermaine Barnaby Photo
Kartel arrives at court this morning for his sentencing - Jermaine Barnaby Photo
Kartel arrives at court this morning for his sentencing - Jermaine Barnaby Photo

Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator

KINGSTON, Jamaica:
Dancehall artiste, Vybz Kartel, has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams.


Kartel, whose real name is Adidja Palmer, is to serve 35 years before he becomes eligible for parole.

He and the three other men convicted for Lizard’s murder were each given life sentences a short while ago by Justice Lennox Campbell.

Adidja Palmer – LIFE IN PRISON (35 years before eligible for parole)
Shawn ‘Shawn Storm’ Campbell – LIFE IN PRISON (25 years before eligible for parole)
Kahira Jones – LIFE IN PRISON (25 years before eligible for parole)
Andre St John – LIFE IN PRISON (30 years before eligible for parole)

Justice Campbell handed down the sentences after hearing impassioned pleas for leniency from lawyers representing the men.

On March 13, after 65 days of trial, a jury returned a ten to one guilty verdict.

READ: Guilty - Vybz Kartel, Three Co-Accused Convicted, Shane Williams Freed

On that same day, a fourth co-accused, Shane Williams was freed by the jury.

The defence has indicated that it will be appealing the verdict.

SEE: THE KARTEL TIMELINE - How the trial unfolded

It has cited discrepancies, inconsistencies, missing data, and mismanagement in the collection of evidence as well as the integrity of the evidence.

Kartel’s attorney, Tom Tavares-Finson says the defence has a fundamental issue with the decision of the trial judge to permit certain phone evidence, given the admission by the police that the instruments were being used after they were taken into their custody.

He says it is very significant that since the matter was heard, the Director of Public Prosecutions has ordered a change in the protocol as to how evidence is to be kept in the department.

According to the attorney, the police have also changed the protocol as to how telephones are to be kept.

Tavares-Finson said the Director of Public Prosecutions, Paula Llewellyn, has also asked prosecutor, Jeremy Taylor, to launch an investigation into the conduct of the investigators in the case.

"I am of the opinion that the department cannot investigate itself and any such investigation should be done by the Independent Commission of Investigations,” Tavares-Finson said.

In handing down his sentences, Justice Campbell said there was a great deal of planning and premeditation that went into the 2011 murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams.

When the hearing began this morning, Kartel’s lead attorney Tom Tavares-Finson told the court that his client maintains his innocence.

Attorney-at-law Miguel Lorne speaking on behalf of his client Shawn 'Shawn Storm' Campbell urged the judge to consider the role of rehabilitation and give a sentence that would allow Shawn Storm to lead a useful life.

However, the judge said it was not easy and said some judges experience a great deal of difficulty in handing down sentences.

Justice Campbell said a great deal of planning and premeditation was involved in the murder and that the deceased suffered mental stress and threat.

He said the body was concealed and attempts made to destroy the evidence in the case.

The judge said the court recognised the differing roles played by the four men convicted of the murder.

Throughout the case, the Crown argued that each man played a different role in a common design to kill Lizard.

WATCH: Kartel, co-accused sentenced


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