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Kartel, Shawn Storm case for Privy Council

BY BRIAN BONITTO
Associate Editor —
Auto & Entertainment
bonittob@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, September 26, 2020

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BIANCA Samuels, one of three attorneys-at-law representing incarcerated dancehall deejay Shawn Storm, is delighted at yesterday's judgement which granted leave for the entertainer's murder conviction be appealed in the the United Kingdom Privy Council, along with his co-convicts.

The Privy Council is the highest tier of the Jamaican Court System.

“I'm very happy with the decision. We worked very hard on this motion, in particular, we wanted to make it clear there were questions of constitutional significance which needed to answered by our highest appeal court. And, there were questions which arose from the complexity of the case which tested the boundaries of the law. And so, I'm happy that the Court of Appeal realised that we needed answers in that regard — that they were gaps that needed to be filled. I'm happy, so ultimately there'll be significant development in the law and also that is very exciting,” Samuels, 30, told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

The judgement was handed down in a virtual sitting of the downtown Kingston-based Court of Appeal by Justice Niclole Simmonds. She also indicated that the leave was granted to appeal the high court's handling of fresh evidence during the hearing.

Shawn Storm, a former member of Vybz Kartel's Portmore Empire, was convicted along with his mentor on April 3, 2014 for the murder of Clive “Lizard” Williams in 2011.

Co-accused Kahira Jones and Andre St John were also convicted. All received life sentences from Justice Lenox Campbell. The men were arrested on September 29, 2011.

In addition to Samuels, Shawn Storm is being represented by Isat Buchanan and top-flight lawyer Bert Samuels, her dad.

Buchanan doubles as attorney for Vybz Kartel along with Alessandro LaBeach.

“It's very easy for members of the public to view this as a dancehall or Vybz Kartel case, but really there are so many questions about the parameters of the constitution and questions of the law which really need to be answered for the law to be developed even further,” said Samuels.

The attorneys-at-law were given 90 days to prepare and dispatch their appeals to the Privy Council.

“Steps have to be taken to prepare the record of appeal for it to be dispatched to the UK. There are a number of steps which we need to take before we get there, but we're on our way,” Samuels added.

In April, two-and-a-half years was reduced from the incarcerated men eligibility for parole.

Vybz Kartel was initially given 35 years before being eligible for parole. It was reduced to 32 years and six months.

Andre St John, who had to serve 30 years before being eligible for parole, had his shaved down to 27 years and six months.

Shawn Storm and Kahira Jones, who had to serve 25 years before being eligible, had theirs reduced to 22 years and six months.


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