Disagreement keeps Buju in US jail

BY PAUL HENRY Observer staff reporter henryp@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

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REGGAE artiste Buju Banton's release from a US jail has hit another snag due to a disagreement with the prosecution over the security company he wants to hire for his 24-hour security detail.

The disagreement is such that the parties will be heading back to the Sam M Gibbons Federal Court for the matter to be reviewed by Magistrate Judge Anthony E Porcelli tomorrow.

"The defence can't get the prosecutor to agree to the security company," a source close to the matter told the Observer.

As part of his bail conditions, it was stipulated that Banton be placed under house arrest, have a 24-hour security detail, at his expense, and wear an electronic monitoring device. The security detail is to ensure that Banton does not violate the terms of his house arrest.

Judge Porcelli had also ruled that the government agree with whatever security arrangement Banton is putting in place.

Banton, whose real is Mark Anthony Myrie, was offered bail in the sum of $250,000 after his cocaine and gun trial ended in September with a hung jury.

A retrial is slated for some time in December.

The Observer reported last week that the four-time Grammy nominee artiste was having problems taking up his bail because of the strict conditions set by Judge Porcelli.

Banton was arrested at his Tamara, Florida, home last December and charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute five killogrammes of cocaine, and possession of a weapon during the furtherance of a crime.

Under the terms of the house arrest, Banton can only leave his house for meetings with his attorney, for doctor's appointments, to purchase medication and for court-appointed hearings. He will also be subjected to drug testing.

He will have to surrender all his travel documents.

After clearing this hurdle of satisfying the bail conditions, Banton's legal team will have to seek bond in the immigration court. Banton's entertainment visa was revoked following his arrest.

The conditions were set as there were concerns that the artiste may be a flight risk.




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