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Silver Lake woman charged with ‘accessory to murder after the fact’ in weekend’s double homicide

(L-r) Jamie Simeon, Tyrone Mitchel

A Silver Lake woman has been granted bail in the sum of $75,000.00 following a charge of “accessory to murder after the fact,” preferred against her by the police following last weekend’s double homicide. Esther Belleau appeared in the Roseau Magistrate Court where the charge was read to her.

It is alleged that on September 23, 2023, at about 1:50 a.m. at the Garage Bar and Grill on 15 Hanover Street in Roseau, knowing that Jamie Simeon, 33, of Silver Lake murdered 24-year-old Tyrone Mitchel of Campbell, she did assist Simeon in disposing of a black Kel-Tec 9mm pistol to hinder his apprehension. Simeon was himself shot by an unknown assailant moments later.

At the hearing, the accused was not required to enter a plea since the charge is an indictable offense, expected to be tried at the High Court before a Judge and jury. Belleau had previously been granted a $50,000.00 station bail which expired on the date of her appearance in court. Consequently, Defense Counsel Joshua Francis put forward a bail application to the court pursuant to section 6 of the Bail Act.

The attorney assured presiding Magistrate, Michael Laudat, that he had no reason to doubt his client’s commitment to surrendering to the Court on any required day. Furthermore, Francis asserted that Belleau would not interfere with any of the prosecution’s witnesses if released, emphasizing her lack of propensity to commit any offense. He expressed confidence that his client would not pervert the course of justice, highlighting her fixed place of abode and strong family ties.

“Your Honor, she is not a danger to herself or any other member of society. The matter may have public interest, but it is not in the public’s interest to deny her bail,” Francis stated. On the contrary, he argued, “It is in the public’s interest to grant her bail so she can continue to undertake her family’s responsibilities.”

Concluding his bail application, Francis emphasized that consideration must be given to the purpose of bail. He stressed that in the circumstances of this case, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, should be applied.

In delivering his decision on the bail application, Magistrate Laudat acknowledged that the recent increase in firearm-related offenses in Dominica has instilled a level of fear among the citizenry. He emphasized, “Members of the public must feel safe in Dominica, and right now, firearms are too hot to handle.”

Nevertheless, the court granted bail to the accused in the sum of $75,000.00 with Victor Johnathan Cuffy as her surety. As part of her bail conditions, Belleau is prohibited from leaving the state except with the permission of the court and upon having made an application to the court for that purpose. The defendant is to report to the Roseau Police Station every Monday and Friday between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.; she must not attend any place of public entertainment in the Commonwealth of Dominica between the hours of 7:00 p.m., and 6:00 a.m., unless permitted by the court.

Belleau was further ordered to surrender to the jurisdiction of the Magistrate’s Court sitting at Roseau at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 20, 2023, and at any time and date that the proceedings may be adjourned to, and until she shall have been dealt with according to law, and not depart the Court without leave.

The defendant shall also, not engage in any conduct whatsoever that would harass, intimidate, or otherwise result or amount to interference with any of the witnesses or persons associated with the present proceedings and she must live an honest and industrious life and not commit any offense whilst on bail.