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Jamaican Dancehall Artist Vybz Kartel’s Murder Conviction Reversed on Appeal

Jamaican dancehall icon Vybz Kartel has had his murder conviction overturned after a successful appeal to the Privy Council in London. Kartel, whose real name is Adidja Palmer, was sentenced to life in prison in 2014 for the murder of Clive “Lizard” Williams in Jamaica. The appeal argued that a juror accused of attempting to bribe others should have been disqualified from the trial. Now, authorities in Jamaica will determine whether the case should be retried.

The 48-year-old artist, renowned for hits like “Clarks” and “Ramping Shop,” is one of Jamaica’s most prominent musicians and has collaborated with international stars like Jay-Z and Rihanna. Kartel’s original trial, lasting 64 days, resulted in a minimum sentence of 35 years, later reduced to 32-and-a-half years. The case involved allegations that Kartel had provided unlicensed firearms to Williams and another man, Lamar Chow, for safekeeping, leading to a violent confrontation at Kartel’s home in 2011. Despite maintaining their innocence throughout the trial, Kartel and his co-accused, Shawn Campbell, Kahira Jones, and Andre St John, were convicted.

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The Privy Council’s decision cited the failure to remove the juror accused of bribery as a violation of the defendants’ right to a fair trial, leading to the overturning of the convictions. While other issues, such as the timing of the verdict and the admissibility of certain evidence, were raised during the appeal, the focus remained on the juror misconduct. Kartel’s exoneration marks a significant development in one of Jamaica’s most high-profile legal cases, with implications for the country’s justice system and the international music community.

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