Champagnie moves to get Dexta Daps released from custody

Queen’s Counsel Peter Champagnie, lead attorney for popular dancehall singjay Dexta Daps, will be filing a writ of habeas corpus Tuesday in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court in Half-Way-Tree to get his client released.

The dancehall singjay was detained at Hunts Bay Police Station in Kingston last Wednesday and has been incarcerated since that time.

“I will be filing a writ today,” Champagnie told Loop News.

A habeas corpus is a writ requiring a person under arrest to appear before a judge to request for a release, unless lawful grounds are provided to show reasons for their detention. Any prisoner, or another person acting on their behalf, may petition the court, or a judge, for a writ of habeas corpus.

Dexta Daps is also being represented by Kemar Robinson.

“I’m advised that he is detained under the state of emergency, pursuant to state of emergency power orders, but there are some arguments that I am seeking to put before the court for them to intervene to show the insincerity of their arguments. There has been no request for question and answer interview, no request for an ID parade, no indication when he will be released or when he will be charged,” Champagnie said.

The coronavirus pandemic has crippled the Jamaican court system, creating legal dilemmas as the accused miss their days in court. The public health crisis has largely downscaled operations, creating a legal backlog in some instances, but there are parts that are still operational.

“The courts are still in operation in circumstances such as emergency cases, and I would urge, this is one of them,” said Champagnie.

In some countries, the writ is temporarily or permanently suspended under the pretext of war or state of emergency. Persons breaching the state of emergency can be detained for up to 90 days.

According to the police, Dexta Daps and several other people were brought in last Wednesday afternoon for questioning with regard to gang-related activities in the St Andrew South area.

A 14-second video of the singjay being escorted in handcuffs by police officers in the Seaview Gardens community of St Andrew made the rounds on social media. Several residents were also seen protesting his detention.

Hailing from the Seaview Gardens community, Dexta Daps is known for songs including ‘Morning Love’, ‘Chinese Jordan’, ‘Cheat On You’, and ‘Shabba Madda Pot’.