BY: JODEE BROWN
The light at the end of the tunnel now seems further away for incarcerated Reggae legend, Buju Banton as the prominent singjay’s request for a new trial has been rejected.
Federal Judge, James Moody turned down Buju’s appeal during a hearing inside a Tampa, Florida courtroom on Tuesday, insisting that there was no need for another one to take place. This ruling took place a month and a half after an Atlanta Circuit Court rejected Buju Banton’s appeal to overturn his conviction and subsequent ten-year sentence on drug-related charges last year.
That court appearance in Atlanta this past June also witnessed the reinstatement of Buju Banton’s gun charge, which was initially thrown out during his initial conviction in February 2011. As a result, given the rejection of his trial request yesterday, Buju Banton now faces five additional years in prison and will soon attend a new sentencing hearing to find out whether or not his ten-year prison stay will be extended.
Despite this latest setback for Buju, the Grammy-winning singjay’s lawyer, David Oscar Markus vehemently refused to give up the fight; implying that he could take this case to the Supreme Court.
“I plan on appealing again and will take this to the Supreme Court if I must,” Markus told theJamaica Gleaner.
“I won’t stop fighting for my friend and brother.”
Buju Banton was arrested in December 2009 and later accused of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking offence and using a telephone to facilitate a drug-trafficking offence. After his first trial ended in a hung jury, Buju returned to court in February 2011 where he was convicted on all three charges but had a gun charge, which had been tacked on prior to his second trial revoked as it was deemed that he neither spoke to nor met James Mack, a co-accused in the case who was held possessing a firearm.
Though Judge Moody agreed that Buju’s gun conviction ruled during his appeal in Atlanta was wrong, he could not throw it out given that the Circuit Court deemed that there was enough evidence to convict him on that charge.