Tense exchange at coroner’s inquest into death of businessman Jason Neil
MANCHESTER, Jamaica – There was a tense exchange on Thursday at the coroner’s inquest into the death of Mandeville businessman Jason Neil, 33, following questions by Kings Counsel KD Knight who is representing Neil’s father.
It was reported that the businessman committed suicide.
Knight had questions for Neil’s widow as to whether she saw Jason Neil’s gun, whether she went to his burial and why she hadn’t followed an ambulance carrying him to hospital.
Neil’s widow hissed her teeth during questioning by Knight.
Jason Neil was found shot in the bathroom of his home in the upscale community of Ingleside on Julie Drive.
Police reports are that about 7:00 am, his then-pregnant wife heard an explosion and when she went to investigate, Neil was allegedly seen on the floor with his licensed firearm beside him. He was pronounced dead at hospital.
Knight, in questioning the widow, sought to find out if she attended his burial, but she was not allowed to answer, as the presiding judge, coroner Monique Harrison disallowed it. Harrison said the questions should relate to how, when and where Jason Neil came to his death.
Knight expressed his displeasure with the coroner’s decision to disallow him from asking about whether the widow was at the graveside calling it “tantamount obstruction”.
“This is an inquiry in which the jurors will be asked to determine whether the manner of death was homicide, suicide, accidental or cannot be determined,” Knight said. “A protective shield cannot be put up by anyone,” in the inquest he added.
The judge requested witnesses and the juror to leave the courtroom several times due to concerns raised by Knight.
On Thursday Knight and Ashleigh Ximines, both representing Neil’s father Bunny Neil, questioned Neil’s widow and her relative. Attorney Christopher Honeywell, who is representing Neil’s widow, didn’t ask any questions in court but accused Knight of fueling speculations.
Both witnesses claimed there was a breakdown in the relationship between Bunny Neil and his son Jason.
The widow told the coroner’s court that Jason Neil for the last two weeks before his death “was not himself generally”.
She said he was quieter, coming home earlier, more reserved and sleeping a lot. She said he had reassured her that “everything was alright” when she asked about his well-being.
She said “everything was perfectly fine up until November 15”.
The second witness told the court that the house in Ingleside belonged to the parents of Neil’s widow.
The coroner’s inquest is to continue on March 7.
Jason Neil, a proprietor of the second-generation family-owned business, Neil’s Auto Service, located on Ward Avenue in Mandeville was interred at a family plot in Dunder Hill, St Elizabeth.