Oct 6, 2010

Drums beat again for Buju Banton - Bail hearing for artiste in Florida court today


Drums beat again for Buju Banton
Bail hearing for artiste in Florida court today

THE loud boom of a bass drum reverberated throughout the night in Whitehall Gardens, the community where Buju Banton's Gargmel Studios are located.

Rastafarian elders — for the second time in two weeks — gathered on the grounds of the studios to hold a vigil for the jailed artiste who faces a bail hearing in the Sam M Gibbons US Federal Court in Tampa, Florida today.

For most of the night the bass drum, accompanied by the pounding of the kette and funde drums, along with other forms of percussion instruments echoed through the silence of the night as supporters of the artiste prayed that he would be allowed out of the Pinellas County Jail.

"We are praying in our own Afrocentric way that the judge will give him bail. After all he owns property in the United States and the judge can rule that he be kept under house arrest with one of those anklets to monitor his movements. Anything is better than having him languishing in jail," one supporter told the Observer as the drummers took a respite minutes after dawn this morning.

Last week Tuesday, Banton's attorney David Markus, filed a motion for bail, a day after his cocaine and gun-possession trial was declared a mistrial after a panel of jurors was unable to reach a verdict at the end of three days of deliberation.

Markus stated in the document that Banton was not a flight risk because of his fame, and that he was only denied bail before his trial that started on Monday, September 20, due to the revocation of his entertainment visa upon his arrest.

Markus stated in his filing that if the federal court were mindful to grant Banton bail, he would also seek bond in the immigration court to prevent his client's deportation so he could face his retrial. 

But James Preston, the Assistant US Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, is vigourously opposing the bail application citing that Banton is indeed a flight risk and that the application should be thrown out of the court without any further hearing.

Banton has been in jail since he was hauled out of his home in Tamarac, Florida by federal agents on December 13 last year.

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