40-year-old, Orlando Vera is a public officer attached to the Scenes of Crime Unit of the Belize Police Department. He holds the post of Firearm Examiner meaning that in any case involving a firearm, Vera would make scientific determinations that would answer key questions for investigators in their evidence gathering process. Today, however, Vera is being accused of going rogue. Love News was at the courthouse this afternoon to witness the arraignment of Vera which concluded just before three o’clock. Richard Dickie Bradley is Vera’s attorney who spoke on the charge levied against his client.
“Mr. Vera has one single charge of aiding, assisting, abetting in the crime of perverting in the course of justice which is to say he had offered to a witness to assist that witness by being able to interfere with what would be the exhibit in a trial against that witness so that in fact that person would not be able to be convicted. The matter is said to have taken place in Belmopan but the accused Mr. Vera was arrested in Belize City by Special Branch and brought to Belize City Magistrates Court. But you may have heard the case of Mark Flowers in fact sending the matter to the Belmopan Court having of course read the charges and offering bail to the accused person. That person is a public officer working with the Police Department and is a highly trained civil servant and so it comes as a kind of shock in relation to the accusation against him.”
According to Attorney Bradley, the allegation against his client involves Michael Modiri whom Vera allegedly offered to tamper with evidence surrounding a case where Modiri was being investigated for kept firearm and ammunition without a gun license.
“From the charge sheet brought against Mr. Vira it is saying that the complainant is Mr. Modiri and Mr. Modiri was facing two very serious charges one with a rifle and the other charge with a large amount of ammunition which has subsequently been withdrawn against him and the allegations that in fact they were planted in his vehicle. In this case now they are saying somebody whom was identified or was said to be Mr. Vira had gone to Modiri and said they could help him with that very serious case.”
In a strange turn of events, while arraignments are usually followed by a separate date for disclosure, Vera was given disclosure then and there in the Chief Magistrate’s courtroom and with that the trial date was set for August 29. Attorney Bradley spoke on this unusual occurrence.
“It is highly unusual that the same time they charged him they had the disclosure ready. There are a lot of people who are languishing around in the system that can’t get their disclosure, I thought I heard the mother of one of the many persons charged in the terrible home invasion up in the northern district that on the last occasion they came to court they were still not given disclosure. So from one point of view it is highly irregular that the same day you charge me you give me the disclosure and you tell me before the month is out you will try me, we will check into that matter because it’s kind of jumping the gun in reverse taking place. We will have a chance to go into that matter.”
Vera was arrested by members of Special Branch. The case was prosecuted by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl Lyn Vidal. Vera is no stranger to the news as he has been featured on several occasions ranging from forensics training to court news. One particular case that pops out dates back to October 8, 2012 when Brandon Taylor was freed after Vera failed to show up to testify in the case. Vera was granted bail of one thousand dollars despite the DPP’s objection to bail. He is to surrender his passport and other travel documents to the court and he has been ordered to not contact the complainant or anyone related to this case.