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Buju Banton jury to resume deliberations today {HeadLines}


The 12 member jury considering the drug conspiracy case against reggae singer Buju Banton is slated to resume its deliberations this morning at the Sam M. Gibbons building in Tampa, which houses the United States Middle District Court.

On Friday, the jury spent almost seven hours considering the evidence before them but were unable to reach a verdict.

Judge Jim Moody has instructed them to take all the time they need in considering whether the prosecution has substantiated beyond reasonable doubt any or all of the four charges brought against the Grammy Award winner whose real name is Mark Myrie.

In denying the allegations, Buju’s attorney David Oscar Markus, argued that the singer never became a willing participant in the cocaine conspiracy alluded to in the indictment.

Markus argued that tasting the cocaine, talking about it, and being present at the warehouse where it had been set up by US law-enforcement officials was not sufficient to find Buju guilty of the crimes for which he is charged.

In his instructions to the jury on Friday, Moody told the jurors they should consider some testimonies such as that given by paid informant Alexander Johnson on behalf of the US government with more caution than other statements.

The judge also told the jury that in order to find Buju guilty of conspiracy, they must be certain that he conspired with someone other than Johnson.

The prosecution has said Buju conspired with James Mack and Ian Thomas, his long-time friend, who acted on his behalf to further the conspiracy to possess and distribute the drug.

Moody also told the jurors that a person may be a conspirator even without knowing all the details of the unlawful plan, or the names and identities of all the other alleged conspirators.

However, he stressed that simply being at the scene of an event or merely associating with certain people and discussing common goals and interests does not establish proof of a conspiracy.

A first trial five months ago ended with a hung jury as the jurors were unable to reach a unanimous position.

If convicted, Buju could face up to life in prison.


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