Vybz Kartel’s attorney, Isat Buchanan, will be sanctioned at a hearing in the future after being found guilty of professional misconduct by the disciplinary committee of the General Legal Council (GLC) that oversees complaints against attorneys in Jamaica.
On October 1, Isat Buchanan was found guilty of professional misconduct, just about two years after the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) filed a complaint with the GLC that the high-powered lawyer breached Canon 1b of the Legal Profession (Canons of Professional Ethics) Rules.
The DPP’s complaint centered around statements made by Buchanan that the DPP’s office had been “authors of delay” and that they were frustrating the process in allowing Kartel’s team to get his phones to a forensics expert. At the time, Buchanan had shared that the phones were a key part of Kartel’s appeal as there was “evidence” that there was tampering with the phones and that Kartel did not get a fair trial.
At Saturday’s hearing, Attorney Andre Earle, who appeared for the DPP’s office, confirmed that the GLC found Buchanan guilty of breaching the code of ethics, which says that “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 code of ethics guides how attorneys are to behave and operate in Jamaica and is also used as a means of recourse by members of the public to discipline lawyers. It’s unclear what Buchanan’s sentencing might be, although Canon he breached has several outcomes depending on the gravity of the situation.
Isat Buchanan has not reacted to the ruling. The famed attorney began representing Vybz Kartel in 2017 and has been working on the artist’s appeal to the Privy Council.
At the time of Buchanan’s comments, the DPP had rejected the insinuations as “scurrilous”, “irresponsibly”, “outrageous”, and “reckless” behavior.
Of interest is that comments against the DPP are not new by Kartel’s lawyers. Back in 2018, senior attorney and legal heavy-weight Bert Samuels lashed the DPP during Kartel’s court of appeal trial, where he accused the DPP of “misconduct” concerning the same alleged tampered phone.