Jamaica
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Kartel’s lawyer found guilty of professional misconduct

Attorney-at-law Isat Buchanan, who is representing incarcerated entertainer Vybz Kartel in his appeal against his murder conviction, was yesterday found guilty by the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council (GLC) of professional misconduct.

A hearing in relation to the sanctions to be imposed on Buchanan will be held on October 22.

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn, KC, took Buchanan to the GLC after he accused her office of “dodgy and shady” behaviour in a news report.

Kartel, whose given name is Adidja Palmer, was convicted along with two other men in 2011 for the murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams.

Constitutional rights

Buchanan was quoted in the article as saying, “The DPP is being very dodgy and shady, and very deliberate in their action to continue to violate the constitutional rights of Adidja Palmer. Despite the attempts of myself and Queen’s Counsel, we have been unable to get access to the cellphone, which we believe has evidence of tampering.”

The DPP, in her affidavit, had denied the allegations.

In its decision, the committee stated that the parties agreed there was no factual dispute that the words, which formed the subject matter of the complaint, were said.

The parties agreed that the issues before the panel were “what is the meaning of the words spoken and ... were the words spoken protected by constitutional provisions relating to the freedom of expression”.

It was further agreed that the documents that were filed by both parties actually embodied the factual circumstances.

MAINTAIN DIGNITY OF PROFESSION

When the matter went before the committee on July 18, the parties were invited to make submissions on Canon 5, which says “an attorney has a duty to assist in maintaining the dignity of the courts and the integrity of the administration of justice”.

The committee said the case was sub judice and was on its way to the Privy Council, therefore, the words used by Buchanan breached Canon (1b) of the legal profession, which states: “An attorney shall at all times maintain the honour and dignity of the profession and shall abstain from behaviour which may tend to discredit the profession of which he is a member.”

The committee found that there was delay on the part of the Office of the DPP in responding to several correspondences from both local and overseas-based lawyers representing Kartel.

Andre Earle, KC, and attorneys Dwayne Green and Kimberley Dawkins represented the DPP, while attorneys-at-law Terrence Williams and John Clarke appeared for Buchanan.

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