Newsmaker: Cops rubbish claims of ‘cover-up’ in Silvera murder probe Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

This week’s overall development as Newsmaker of the Week just ended is the stunning twist in a high-profile murder probe which has resulted in Joylan Silvera, the former Member of Parliament (MP) for Western St Mary who represented the People’s National Party (PNP), being charged with the murder of his wife Melissa.

The legal woes for Silvera are deepening, as head of the police’s crime and security portfolio, Deputy Commissioner of Police Fitz Bailey, said more charges could be laid against the politician who is a 52-year-old land developer by profession.

Bailey has also sought to defend the police’s weeks-long murder probe, dismissing suggestions that there was any cover-up in the investigations.

“I know that the issue of cover-up is a public discussion, but if the same police officer who went on the scene requested a post-mortem to be done, then in my own understanding and assessment, there is no inclination of a cover-up because the post-mortem really is to reveal the cause of death,” Bailey outlined in a video that was released on the police’s social media platforms on Friday.

The police have confirmed that they found evidence that major renovation work had occurred in the room where it is believed Melissa was killed, which is being viewed as an indication of attempts at a possible grand cover-up by the party or parties who were responsible for the death.

Such possible plans were, however, said to have been foiled when a police officer who arrived on the scene requested that a post-mortem examination be done.

It was initially reported that Melissa died in her sleep at her Stony Hill, St Andrew home on November 10, but the police upgraded their probe to one of murder after the post-mortem report revealed that her body had at least three bullet fragments.

Jolyan, the one-term MP who served between December 2011 and February 2016, had been interviewed by the police twice, and had retained the services of a prominent attorney. The lawyer, Peter Champagnie, had repeatedly stated that his client was not a suspect in relation to the murder.

But on Thursday afternoon, developments unfolded rapidly in the case when Bailey confirmed Silvera’s arrest by investigators from the Major Investigation Division (MID).

After spending a night in custody, the politician was formally charged with his wife’s murder on Friday, a week after he was seen openly weeping for her while seated next to their sons at her funeral service.

In a video statement on Friday, Bailey said the investigations into the killing are far from over, as “there are other charges that will be laid against Mr Silvera”.

Bailey said in the investigation, all the sciences were applied, including cyber, telecommunications and ballistics.

“I will say that this case was not the easiest for us, but because there is a level of competence within the organisation, we have the skillset…, and this has resulted in us achieving what we have achieved,” said Bailey.

Commanding officer in charge of the MID, Superintendent Richard Hilton, said when the police visited the crime scene it was not “normal”.

He elaborated that, “We employed the services of all our technical experts from ballistics, CFCD and other technical persons, and it has proven to us that some of our suspicions were correct.”

Hilton said the investigative work continues, but there was enough material to lay charges in the case.

At that juncture, Bailey confirmed the authenticity of the story relative to the room where Melissa’s body was found, as having been renovated thereafter.

In providing details on that aspect of the case, Hilton said there were signs of floor tiles being replaced and the room being repainted.

Jolyan and Melissa Silvera ‘back in the days’.

With social media users widely criticising the medical doctor who pronounced Melissa dead at the house, Bailey flayed those negative responses.

“The person who pronounces the individual dead is not even requested to attend court because after that, it triggers other processes, for example, (a) post-mortem.

“So, essentially that’s it… I heard the issue about, in the instant case, why the doctor who pronounced the individual dead did not see that she was murdered; that is not the role of the doctor really,” Bailey stated.

“It’s the post-mortem that will determine that,” he said while reiterating that it was the police that initially requested that the post-mortem be done.

On that score, the deputy commissioner said there could be no suggestion of a cover-up in the case.

Meanwhile, Champagne said his client maintains his innocence, and would remain in custody on the weekend, pending his likely court appearance this week.

The PNP issued a statement on Friday, saying that it noted the charge that was brought against Silvera in connection with his wife’s murder.

“The People’s National Party is committed to upholding the principles of justice and accountability and emphasises the importance of the rule of law and due process,” it stated.

“We call upon members of the public who have information that can assist the police investigation to do so, so that no stone is left unturned in the pursuit of justice for Melissa,” the PNP urged while adding condolences to Melissa’s family.

On Saturday, the PNP’s Women’s Movement, which is headed by Patricia Duncan-Sutherland, condemned Melissa’s tragic killing.

“Our nation has been rocked with shock and concern as circumstances surrounding Melissa’s death have been brought to light over the last month. We are clear and respect the fact that in Jamaica one is innocent until proven guilty,” the group said in a release on Saturday.

The movement also commended the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) for their efforts at ensuring that justice is served, and highlighted that the tragedy has had a “devastating impact on us as a PNP family, especially considering her three sons.”

The movement added that, “We stand firmly behind the pursuit of justice for Melissa Silvera, and will continue to advocate for systemic changes (relative to violence against women and children).”

As the case continues to unravel, Jamaicans continue to anticipate further developments in the coming days.

“I am happy justice is taking its course re Melissa’s sad murder. I am sorry for her children who are going through this,” said a woman on Facebook.

“Congrats to the JCF (Jamaica Constabulary Force) on their successful investigations, and let’s see if others charge nuh. Over to you now DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions),” said a man.

Shared another: “So many questions left unanswered in this case, but I hope the charges will hold up at a trial before a judge and jury.”

On Instagram reggae singer Queen Ifrica said: “Don’t know what really happened, but it didn’t have to end like that. RIP sista girl”.

Commented a male Instagrammer: “This case is very disturbing because there are so many unanswered questions.

“It fuels the perception that there are two Jamaicas,” he opined.