Vybz Kartel’s Defense Habeas Corpus Application For Release Explain

The content originally appeared on: Urban Islandz

Attorneys for Adidja ‘Vybz Kartel’ Palmer, Shawn ‘Shawn Storm’ Campbell and Andrew St. John appeared in the Supreme Court of Jamaica on Wednesday to argue for the freedom of the three men who continue to be held at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre following acquittal for murder by the Privy Council in March.

The hearing on Wednesday comes less than a week when the Court of Appeal will hear arguments on June 5 as to whether the men should be retried for the 2011 murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams.

Ahead of that hearing, attorneys for the applicants filed a habeas corpus application to free the three men and an order requesting that they be compensated by the Attorney General of Jamaica (2nd respondent) for their time in custody.

The habeas corpus application named respondents the Superintendent of Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre, the Attorney General of Jamaica, and the Director of Public Prosecution.

On Wednesday, attorneys for the applicants and the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) concluded submissions before Judge Andrea Thomas. Attorneys Isat Buchanan and Iqbal Cheverria argued that the continued detention of the applicants is not supported by law and that the state is continuing to detain the applicants against their will since their murder conviction was quashed.

According to Vybz Kartel lawyers, the state has not provided any justification for detention in compliance with section 14 (1) (a( – (i) of the Jamaican constitution, which outlines several circumstances in which a Jamaican is detained.

In responding to the respondents’ reply quoting the Privy Council ruling, which ordered that the conviction be quashed and the case remitted to the Court of Appeal of Jamaica for a determination as to a retrial, the applicants’ lawyers argued that “no court ordered the Applicants detention pending the retrial issue.”

Further, the attorneys also challenged that their clients were being held in correctional facilities that, according to the law, are for convicted prisoners serving a prison sentence to be held.

“It is submitted that a true interpretation of section 31 of JAJA, coupled with section 14 (1) of the constitution and section 16 of the Corrections Act, is that the Applicants, who are not serving a sentence, are not in lawful custody.”

The attorneys urged the court to consider the legal concept of autrefois acquit since there is no law in Jamaica that explicitly speaks to what happens to a person whose conviction is quashed. In this case, the lawyers argued that where a conviction is quashed, there should be automatic acquittal since continued detention with a view of retrial “would be in breach of the rule against double jeopardy.

Meanwhile, the respondents argued that the applicants were subjected to the ruling by the Privy Council, which ordered that consideration for acquittal or retrial of Applicants is in the remit of the Court of Appeal, which has “final disposition of the case.”

“The order of the Privy Council quashing the convictions is not an acquittal without more. If an order is made by an appellate court to quash a conviction, then a verdict of acquittal is to be entered or a new trial ordered.”

The respondents contended that the applicants should submit to the Court of Appeal for an acquittal verdict to be entered.

Judge Andrea Thomas will hand down her judgement on Thursday at 2 pm.

Tags: Vybz Kartel