Was Jamaica's Vybz Kartel Found Guilty or To Be Found Guilty?

On the heels of the verdict in the Vybz Kartel murder trial, one blogger raises questions about the track records of the Jamaican police and judicial system and wonders how much faith the Jamaican people can actually have in the course of justice.

Prompted by a newspaper article about two Active Voice begins her post by saying:

Comparing and contrasting is always a useful exercise. Two men, Claytoday Dunkley and Garfield Litchmore, falsely accused of killing lawmen, lose 6 years of their life due to police bungling or worse, and the most the Gleaner can do is run a brief two-column report on page 2 with skeletal details of a case that seems to be a flagrant violation of human rights. Is it because the two concerned are labourers from Trench Town and not from Upper St. Andrew? What recourse if any do they have? Will any members of the Police be held accountable for this travesty of justice?

She makes the link between cases like these and the high-profile Vybz Kartel trial:

Buju Banton might have smiled and called this low-budget justice for low-budget people…aside from this the admission that the police apparently falsely charged the two men raises doubts about the reliability of evidence they presented against Vybz Kartel and co which as we all know ended in the conviction of the superstar DJ and three of his co-accused last week.

To underscore her point, she refers to another trial that got a lot of attention in Jamaica seven years ago:

Juxtapose this for argument’s sake with the 2007 trial of former UWI student Rodney Beckles, accused of stabbing one Khalil Campbell to death over a chillum pipe. On that occasion the story occupied the Gleaner’s front page…no doubt because the protagonists were both sons of ‘high-society officials’ as the headline pointed out. Rodney is the son of Sir Hilary Beckles, Principal of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill campus. The young man he killed was none other than the son of Justice Lennox Campbell, yes you read it right, the very Supreme Court Judge Lennox Campbell who presided over the Kartel trial. The murder took place in January 2007 and by the end of November the same year young Beckles had been acquitted, much to the relief of his parents.

Despite the fact that the 18 injuries were all found on the body of the victim, none on the body of the killer Beckles, a jury which deliberated for two hours (shades of the Kartel trial!) decided that the victim had been the aggressor and Beckles was acting in self-defence when he stabbed Campbell through the heart.

Her post republishes a newspaper report about the trial, which mentioned that “the defence brought medical evidence to show that the deceased was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and cannabis abuse and was aggressive when he did not get his medication.” She asks:

So what do you think? Is the second a case of high-budget justice for high-budget people in contrast to the case of the Trenchtown labourers, Claytoday Dunkley and Garfield Litchmore? Again what does this indicate about the quality of justice meted out by Jamaican courts?

Then, she gets to the real question:

Was Kartel found to be guilty or was he to be found guilty by a police force and judiciary determined to make an example of him?


  • Mor Amok

    Sensible question. Legal system in Jamaica serve no average Jamaican. Citizens must unite against corruption within the legal system even protesting for a change will bring brurality to end. Voice of change

  • Damion

    Vybez Kartel was to be found he is the voice of the poor with a influence on the younger generation of Jamaica this corrupted government can’t afford for the young to keep listening to this man its like how South Africa put Mandela away because he exposed them lyrical , tampering with evidence no conformation and DNA proving that a person was murdered u convict four young man for a crime smh how can u tamper with a man’s phone while u have him in custody and then use it to convict him this is a sad day for Jamaica.

    • laws

      Damion your comment is not just a comment you preached , I am not from Jamaica but from another Caribbean island and from day one I have been saying they are gonna try to take down adidja palmer because he is a getto youth who showed that he can rise above everything and his talent surpasses anyone I have ever listened to and have read about , he is a true genius and at the same time a human being who is not perfect and i do believe he is innocent.

    • sasha simmonds

      Which voice of the poor? Maybe your voice, I speak for myself. Why would you have 23 decomposing bodies in your yard. Is Vybz a coroner? Prisoner fi life I hope. Rid JA of trash like him. Please go and find a real role model!

      • Damion

        Stop talk if you where from Jamaica you wouldn’t be saying that you hear too much rumours nothing like that , if he was convicted for a body r evidence they don’t have can you imagine what would happen if they found 23 bodies r you a fool .

  • Mor Amok

    Damion n Laws, if everyone possesses ya thinking skill, probably there d ve been diff course of actions world wide for better awareness n democeacy n justcie n fair laws for all. Kartel is innocent locked up in corrupt dilema. We cant help coz majority r controlled by false reasoning also easily brain washed by media. I ve a dream that one day Jamaica ll wake up n realize their power in wicked citizens.

  • Antonietta Jones

    I was not born in Jamaica but my father was and I travel there on the regular, it’s a shame how the system work over there and how they scam people out of money over there. It’s said that know one wants to see others survive over there. The roads are bad and the system is behind for Jamaica to be such a popular place for tourists. However I don’t feel Vybz Kartel had a fair trail but at the end of the day it’s going to be one judgment day for everyone and we will all pay for our sins.

  • Damion

    I guess the judge son loved listening to Vybez Kartel so he blamed him for what his so did and now he owns the government for setting his son free so you bring another man’s son down to keep yours free you r gonna pay for your crimes and the lord gonna see to that judge and your kid still gonna get his day once a killer always a killer.

  • Damion

    I also taught about the 10 jury I bet they used 10 ppl who had government jobs and was gonna lose there jobs if they never came out with a guilty verdict.

  • Starboy

    I read a lot of comments on many websites about the evidence being tampered with,but I ask this was it being tampered with to make him guilty or to make him not guilty if anyone know please let me know because bribing jurors,false police report does not look good so help me understand if you’re innocent why do those things.

    • PH57

      They tampered with the evidence to make him guilty. Text messages were sent from his phone while he was in jail. At the time of the murder he was in the hospital. Phone records don’t match up. DNA doesn’t match up to victim. The list goes on and on. This is not a good look on the Jamaican gov,

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