The law according to IsatMonday, June 29, 2020
BY BRIAN BONITTO
This is the first in a current affairs series by the Jamaica Observer's Entertainment Desk focusing on people who are making an impact.
TODAY, human rights attorney and recording artiste Isat Buchanan will file a motion before the Jamaican Court of Appeal seeking leave to the United Kingdom's Privy Council to have Vybz Kartel's 2014 murder conviction overturned. He was retained by the dancehall deejay earlier this month.
The session will be done via Zoom and is slated to begin at 9:30 am.
“I am not nervous. I'll use the law, like always, and even before I was officially Kartel's attorney, I was of the view that all four men were wrongly convicted and they all had a right to have their matter properly ventilated in the final appellate court in our land,” the 41-year-old told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
“And when I say wrongly convicted; [I mean] a verdict came from a contaminated jury... I've been on the case since 2008. I was on the team for [entertainer] Shawn Campbell. I actually argued the technology evidence at the appeal,” he continued.
Vybz Kartel, given name Adidja Palmer, and his three co-convicts — Shawn “Shawn Storm” Campbell, Andre St John, and Kahira Jones were given life sentences for the murder of Clive “Lizard” Williams in 2011.
In April, Jamaica's Court of Appeal upheld their sentences, but reduced the period of eligibility of parole by two-and-a half years each. As a result, Kartel will be eligible for parole in 32 years and six months instead of 35; Campbell and Jones were reduced to 22 years and six months instead of 25; and St John, who had to serve 30 years before being eligible for parole, had his shaved to 27 years and six months.
The son of veteran toaster Big Youth, Buchanan is actively recording. His latest single, That's Cool, was released in January. It was featured in the BET series American Gangster: Trap Queen, which examines the lives of some of America's most notorious criminals.
“I actually was featured in the show; for two episodes — 'Charmaine Roman' and 'Jean Brown',” he said.
Buchanan's other songs include Unbreakable, Lovers Rock, and Believe in Jah.
He is no stranger to the spotlight. Last Wednesday, he secured the release of George Williams, a mentally ill man who spent 50 years behind bars without a trial.
The family of Jodian Fearon has also retained his service. Fearon, 24 and a first-time mother, died in April following the delivery of her baby at Spanish Town Hospital. She was transferred to the University Hospital of the West Indies after reportedly developing complications.
Buchanan also grabbed the headlines in December 2017 after being called to the bar despite two drug convictions. He has always maintained his innocence.
He has advice for up-and-coming artistes and lawyers.
“You must be authentic and must be passionate about whatever that you do. If you're a street sweeper, be the best street sweeper that you can be. The most important thing is to contribute to your profession and have respect for those before you,” he said.
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