Vybz Kartel Appeal: Juror feared for her life

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vybz-kartel-photo-11-larger.jpgThe ethical dilemma facing the female juror dismissed from the Vybz Kartel murder trial was real and the presiding judge, Justice Lennox Campbell, was not wrong to discharge her, senior deputy director of public prosecutions Jeremy Taylor has asserted.

Taylor was presenting his legal arguments in the appeal filed by Kartel and three other men to have their murder conviction and prison sentences overturned.

The entertainer, whose real name is Adidja Palmer, was convicted in 2014, along with his protege, Shawn Storm, as well as Kahira Jones and Andre St John, for killing Clive 'Lizard' Williams at a house in Havendale, St Andrew in 2011.

Last week, Shawn Storm's attorney complained that the entertainer was not in the judge's chambers when the decision to discharge the juror was taken and argued that this was a breach of his right to a fair trial.

However, Taylor, in recounting what transpired in the judge's chambers, said the female juror had indicated that her son was in custody at the Horizon Adult Correctional Centre, the same facility where Kartel and his co-accused were being housed.

He said the woman revealed that during one visit to her son she and St John's "eyes mek four" and that her son had told her that he was approached by Kartel.

According to Taylor, the woman indicated that she had become fearful.

As a result, he said Campbell took the decision to discharge her and indicated that he would announce in open court that she was being dismissed for personal reasons.

"The decision to discharge her was not opposed by anyone," said Taylor, referring to the attorneys for all men who were present in the judge's chambers.

"Neither was there any dissenting voice when Mr Campbell said he would announce in court that she is being discharged for personal reasons," he continued.

Added Taylor: "He was not wrong. The ethical dilemma was real."

Further, he a cited legal authority which suggests that an accused can be excluded from discussions in the judge's chambers on the condition that a court reporter is present.

"A court reporter was present [in this case] which is why we have a transcript of what transpired," Taylor argued.