Vybz Kartel’s Conviction Might Be Over-turned Due To Judicial Error
Did Vybz Kartel Get A Fair Trial?
Is this the break Vybz Kartel has been hoping for?
It has recently been disclosed that at least three members of the jury that convicted dancehall entertainer Vybz Kartel had close relations with law enforcement agencies. It has been reported that two members of the jury worked for the Jamaica Defense Force and another was the wife of a high ranking police officer that worked at the courthouse during the trial.
One of the jurors who served in the Vybz Kartel murder trial admitted yesterday that he “works” with the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).
Dennis Brown made the admission in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate’s Court as he gave evidence in the corruption trial of Livingston Cain, the juror accused of trying to bribe his peers to return not guilty verdicts in the Kartel case.
Under the Jury Act, officers and non-commissioned officers as well as regular and reserve members of the JDF are barred from serving as jurors.
Vybz Kartel’s case toed the line of police mis-conduct. There were accusations of tampering with evidence, and evidence disappearing and re-appearing. If Vybz Kartel was found not guilty there would have been serious questions raised about the credibility and procedures of the law enforcement agencies that handled the case and the evidence. One can argue that declaring Vybz Kartel’s guilt would have been in the best interest of these jurors based on their relations with those agencies.
Was Vybz Kartel’s defense team privy to this information when jurors were being selected? Is there a detailed questionnaire that is used to get information from potential jurors that would determine issues such as relationship to law enforcement, prior victims of crimes, occupation etc?
It is absolutely wrong that a juror served on this panel, who is married to a senior law enforcement officer. While she may have been impartial, one could also speculate that she could have been influenced by the one with whom she sleeps at nights and shares common interest. If the said inspector really worked crowd control at the court during the trial, that scenario definitely portrays impropriety.
Justice must not only be done, it must also appear to be done. This case shows that there is structural weakness in the Jamaican justice system. In every civilized country including the United States this would have been grounds for a mis-trial.
Do you believe Vybz Kartel’s conviction should be over-turned?