ODPP taking Buchanan to General Legal Council

ODPP taking Buchanan to General Legal Council

Friday, November 27, 2020

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The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) is to report attorney Isat Buchanan to the disciplinary committee of the General Legal Council over what it said were defamatory comments attributed to him about the office in the Vybz Kartel case published by online news outlet Loop Jamaica.

According to DPP Paula Llewellyn, the article, headlined 'Vybz Kartel's lawyers move to gain access to entertainer's phone', published on Monday this week, quoted Buchanan as saying the ODPP is “being very dodgy and shady, and very deliberate in their action to continue to violate the constitutional rights of Adidja Palmer”.

Kartel and his co-accused were in September granted leave to appeal their case at the United Kingdom Privy Council.

Kartel, given name Adidja Palmer, entertainer Shawn “Shawn Storm” Campbell, Andre St John, and Kahira Jones were given life sentences on April 3, 2014 for the murder of Clive “Lizard” Williams in 2011.

The Loop story also reports Buchanan as saying, “Despite the attempts of myself and the Queen's Counsel, we have been unable to get access to the cellphone, which we believe has evidence of tampering.”

In the same article, he goes further to accuse the ODPP of being the “authors of delay”, Llewellyn added in a lengthy and detailed response to the story.

“The words 'dodgy' and 'shady' are usually used to describe the behaviour of persons of a dishonest character or dysfunctional moral compass, which is commonly found in thieves, fraudsters and con men. It goes without saying that this sort of behaviour would be highly unbecoming of any attorney-at-law. Of course, if such a person were convicted, that person could never qualify to be employed as a prosecuting attorney in the public service,” Llewellyn said.

“The only inference that can be drawn from the words of Mr Buchanan, as reported, is that the director of public prosecutions, who is enabled by the Constitution of Jamaica, and her 57 prosecuting attorneys, who are her agents, have acted dishonestly, illegally, criminally, and unprofessionally in the issue of the access by the defence to Mr Palmer's phone,” the DPP said.

She also described as “even more outrageous”, an assertion by the attorney in the article that “the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions is deliberately violating the constitutional rights of Adidja Palmer”.

She said this was not the first time that this “unfounded allegation” has been made by Kartel's legal representatives.

“It is a matter of record that in the appeal against conviction and sentence, it was raised that the ODPP had abused its powers in relation to Adidja Palmer. The Court of Appeal dismissed that ground, indicating that it had no merit.

“In the leave application to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, heard by the Court of Appeal, Mr Buchanan raised this issue once again and this ground also failed before the Court of Appeal,” the DPP said.

She outlined in detail the communication process between her office and the English QC for the defence in the Privy Council appeal, stating that Buchanan has full knowledge of all correspondence because he has been copied on each one.

“At no time has the ODPP acted in a 'dodgy' or 'shady' way, nor has the ODPP contravened the constitutional rights of Mr Palmer. On the contrary, at all times, the prosecutors of the ODPP have acted, at every stage of the Adidja Palmer case, within the highest traditions of the Bar and the parameters outlined in our Code of Professional Conduct,” Llewellyn said.

“The allegations of Mr Buchanan, as quoted and published in Loop Jamaica, are an unfortunate attempt to impugn our character and integrity in the public domain which would be inimical to the administration of justice, given the core function of this high public office which operates under the constitution.

“Having considered and caucused with members of my senior staff, it has been decided to take our concerns to the relevant fora which concern and regulate the conduct of attorneys,” the DPP said.

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