Saturday 3 December 2016

Key state witness for court in Michaela hearing

Luke Byrne in Mauritius and John Cooney

Published 27/06/2011 | 05:00

THE prosecution "star witness" will today appear in court to give evidence at the preliminary hearing into the murder of Michaela Harte.

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Raj Theekoy is due in court in Mapou, Mauritius, following delays of the hearing into the murder of Michaela (27) as she honeymooned with husband John McAreavey at the Legends Hotel on January 10.

He had initially appeared in court to give evidence for the prosecution last Thursday. Mr Theekoy, a hotel cleaner, was previously charged with conspiracy to commit murder because he heard screams but did not run to help.

However, the charge against him was dropped after he agreed to give evidence against Avinash Treebhowon (30) and Sandip Moneea (41).

Both men are accused of murdering Michaela but deny the charge.

Defence

The preliminary inquiry has been stalled as defence lawyers have sought to have the magistrate, Sheila Bonomally, removed from hearing the case.

However, she rejected a motion claiming that the men couldn't get a fair trial because she granted bail to one of the accused and not the other.

The defence also want to cross-examine Mr McAreavey.

The preliminary inquiry is to decide if there is enough evidence to send the accused men forward for trial for murder.

The preliminary hearing was initially expected to last three days. However, it is now running into its second week.

Meanwhile, the uncle of John McAreavey tearfully offered a prayer for the couple at Knock Shrine at the weekend.

Bishop of Dromore John McAreavey told pilgrims that his prayers were for his nephew still living with "the terrible tragedy" of his wife's death.

After administering Holy Communion to numerous sick people, Bishop McAreavey said that he was also praying for Michaela's parents Mickey Harte and his wife Marion.

Irish Independent

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