Incarcerated Reggae/Dancehall entertainer, Mark Myrie, more popularly known as Buju Banton has been granted approval by a U.S. appeals court to make oral arguments in a bid for a new trial as he attempts to overturn his conviction on drug-related charges.
The breakthrough came on Monday following an appeal submitted in May by Buju's legal team, headed by Harvard Law School professor, Charles Ogletree asking that Buju be granted a new trial and oral arguments on the basis that the singer was entrapped by a paid U.S. informant and that his case was compromised after a juror in his 2011 trial was found to have unlawfully researched aspects of the case while it was taking place.
A statement issued by the Buju Banton Defense Support Committee detailed the latest developments in the matter.
It reads, "In May 2014 the Defense Team for Jamaican Reggae Superstar, Buju Banton, filed an appeal to the U.S. Appellate Court requesting the artiste be granted oral arguments and a new trial. Buju’s attorney, Professor Charles Ogletree, submitted a compact and powerful document detailing Buju Banton’s innocence. The Court has responded favourably by granting approval to the oral arguments.
The brief states that Buju Banton was entrapped by a paid informant in December 2009. It gives clear evidence that the foreperson of the jury, Mrs. Terri Wright, acted against the District Court’s instructions by researching information on the case during the trial and that Mrs. Wright further presented the Court with the wrong computer hard drive on which she did her research."
No date has been issued by the appeals court for the oral arguments to be heard. However. Ogletree expressed satisfaction with the approval of Buju's request, saying that the court’s decision is a 'positive step towards justice, victory and freedom for the incarcerated reggae icon.'"
Buju was convicted on three drug-related charges in February 2011 and later sentenced to 10 years in prison, counting time already served. His term is slated to end in February 2019.