Artist News Legal

Vybz Kartel’s murder conviction upheld by Jamaican courts

By | Published on Monday 6 April 2020

Vybz Kartel

The appeals court in Jamaica last week upheld Vybz Kartel’s murder conviction. Judges rejected claims by the dancehall artist that his 2014 conviction was unsound due to the prosecution’s reliance on just one eye-witness, various issues with the jury, and publicity around the case preventing him from getting a fair trial.

Kartel and three of his associates were found guilty of murdering a man called Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams in August 2011. Williams’ body was never found. But an associate of the victim claimed that he and Williams had been summoned to Kartel’s Jamaican home in a dispute over unlicensed firearms. There Kartel et al beat Williams to death, the witness initially hiding and then later discovering Williams lying motionless on the ground trying to speak.

All four of the accused continue to insist that they are innocent. Having vowed to appeal immediately after their 2014 convictions, the appeals process formally began in 2017. Following last week’s ruling, a lawyer working for Kartel told DancehallMag that she now intends to take to case to judicial committee of the UK Privy Council in London, which still acts as a final court of appeal for Jamaica.

Meanwhile, appeal judges in the Jamaican courts are still considering the separate claim by Kartel et al that their sentences – which ordered then to serve at least 25-35 years before parole – were too severe. Kartel’s attorney said that the extra documents the judges requested suggest they are likely to reduce her client’s sentence.