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No Buju verdict before Monday

BY PAUL HENRY Observer reporter henryp@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, September 24, 2010 | 2:14 PM    

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TAMPA, Florida — Jamaican Reggae singer Buju Banton will have to wait until Monday to know his fate as the 13 member panel of jurors have yet to come to a decision.

The jurors are expected to resume their deliberations at 8:45 Monday morning.

Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, has been in jail for nine months and 14 days after being hauled out of his Tamarac home in South Florida on December 10 last year, two days after his co-defendants Ian Thomas and James Mack were held during a drug bust at a police controlled warehouse in Saratoga, Tampa.

Both signed plea deals and agreed to testify against Myrie in exchange for lesser sentences. However, none of the two took the stand as Mack pleaded the fifth amendment and neither the prosecution or the defence found Thomas' testimony to be of any assistance to their case.

Two weeks ago Mack signed an affidavit saying he never knew Myrie until after his arrest and that the artiste had no knowledge of a firearm and US$130,000 that was found in a Honda motorcar he was driving.

Myrie was reportedly offered a two-year prison term but refused. He has consistently maintained his innocence and claimed that he was entrapped by Government informant, Alexander Johnson.

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