Jamaica Ordered to Reimburse Vybz Kartel’s Legal Costs

Vybz Kartel

In a recent development with far-reaching implications, the Jamaican government has been directed to reimburse Vybz Kartel and his fellow co-accused for the legal expenses they incurred during their recent appeal to the United Kingdom Privy Council.

The incarcerated dancehall artist, along with Shawn Campbell, Kahira Jones, and Andre St John, had their life sentences from a 2014 conviction overturned by the UK-based Privy Council last month, citing concerns about jury tampering.

Initially convicted in 2014 for the murder of Clive “Lizard” Williams in 2011, the quartet’s appeal to the Jamaican Court of Appeal in 2020 was unsuccessful.

The Privy Council’s ruling mandates that the case be referred back to Jamaica’s Appeal Court, which will determine whether to order a retrial or release the defendants altogether. The hearing is scheduled for June 10 and will span five days.

On April 10, King Charles endorsed the Privy Council’s decision to nullify the murder convictions. The order from the Court at Buckingham Palace also stipulates that Jamaica must reimburse all court costs incurred by the men.

According to the order, the appeal should be allowed, the convictions quashed due to juror misconduct, and the case remitted to the Court of Appeal to decide on a retrial. The government is instructed to cover the appellants’ costs, with the amount subject to assessment if not agreed upon.

“HIS MAJESTY was pleased by and with the advice of His Privy Council to approve the report and to order that those charged with administering the Government of Jamaica and all others whom it may concern are to ensure that it is punctually observed and obeyed,” the document stated.

Justice Minister Delroy Chuck has confirmed that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) is aware of the government’s obligation to cover all costs related to Vybz Kartel and his co-appellants’ Privy Council appeal.

Minister Chuck clarified that such a move is not unprecedented and that the payment amount must be mutually agreed upon with the DPP’s office and will subsequently be taxed.

Alessandra LaBeach, one of Kartel’s attorneys, expressed satisfaction on behalf of the appellants, noting their contentment with the prospect of receiving compensation.