Sep 29, 2010

Defence lawyer makes bail case for Buju

Defence lawyer makes bail case for Buju 
BY PAUL HENRY Observer staff reporter
Wednesday, September 29, 2010

TAMPA, USA — Buju Banton’s lawyer David Markus filed a motion in the Sam M Gibbons Federal Court yesterday asking that his client be granted bail.

Markus said in court documents that his client was not a flight risk, that he was not a threat to the community, and pointed out that the government’s case against the artiste was weak and will not get any better.
He also argued that the only reason Banton was not previously granted bail was that his entertainment visa was revoked by immigration authorities on his arrest in December last year. He said that if Banton, real name Mark Myrie, is granted bail, he would also seek bond in the immigration court to prevent the artiste’s deportation to Jamaica.

“Accordingly, Mr Myrie respectfully requests that a bond be issued forthwith,” said the court document.
Should Banton be offered bail, he faces detention by immigration officials who would seek to have him deported to Jamaica as his entertainment visa was revoked when he was arrested at his Florida home on December 10, 2009 and charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute five kilograms of cocaine and possession of a firearm during the furtherance of a crime.

His bail hearing has tentatively been set for October 6 in the Tampa Federal Court.
The prosecution has 20 days in which to respond to the defence’s motion.

On Monday, the artiste breathed a sigh of relief after a 12-member jury emerged from two and a half days of deliberation deadlocked on whether or not the Jamaican Reggae star was guilty or innocent of the cocaine-trafficking charges which carry a sentence of 20 years to life and a fine of US$4 million.

Banton is scheduled to return to court for a new trial in December on a date to be decided. If a panel of jurors cannot arrive at a verdict in the upcoming retrial, then his case will be thrown out.

His attorney has expressed confidence that he will be able to get a not guilty verdict for the four-time Grammy nominee.

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