Buju bail hearing today

Date for December retrial to be set

Jamaica Observer

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

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JAMAICAN Reggae star Buju Banton, will find out today if he will be granted bail by a United States court. Banton has been in custody at the Pinellas County Jail in Tampa, Florida; for almost 10 months after being hauled out of his South Florida home in December last year.

His attorney David Oscar Markus, last week filed a motion for his client to be granted bail citing that he was not a flight risk because of his popularity. Markus also said that he would apply for a bond in an Immigration Court if Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, was granted bail.

But US prosecutor James Preston, has lodged an objection to the artiste being granted bail and requested that the bail application be flung out of the US Gibbons Court without further hearing.

Myrie is accused of attempting to possess with intent to distribute five or more kilogrammes of cocaine. His two co-defendants James Mack and Ian Thomas have pleaded guilty and are expected to be sentenced next month. Myrie, however has maintained his innocence and has rejected a plea deal arrangement offered to him by US prosecutors.

Mack and Thomas were held in a police controlled warehouse as they attempted to purchase cocaine from undercover drug enforcement agents. Police found a handgun and US$138,000 in a secret compartment of a Honda motorcar Mack was driving.

A panel of jurors could not agree on a verdict at the end of the artiste's three-day trial last week and a retrial was ordered by the court. The date for the retrial is expected to be announced today.

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