Saturday 21 October 2017

Lawyer accuses Michaela suspect of 'drowning in lies'

Avinash Treebhoowoon (left) is accused of murdering
Michaela McAreavey on her honeymoon
Avinash Treebhoowoon (left) is accused of murdering Michaela McAreavey on her honeymoon

Cormac McQuinn in Mauritius

ONE of the two men on trial for the murder of Michaela McAreavey has been accused of repeatedly lying to the court during his testimony.

Former hotel cleaner Avinash Treebhoowoon was accused of telling numerous lies during his marathon 10 hours in the witness box by prosecutor Mehdi Manrakhan.

Mr Treebhoowoon, along with his former supervisor Sandip Moneea, is accused of murdering Michaela after she allegedly caught them stealing from the honeymoon suite she was sharing with her husband John.

Both men deny the charge, with Mr Treebhoowoon claiming that he only signed a confession after being beaten and tortured by police.

In court yesterday he was repeatedly called a liar by Mr Manrakhan and repeatedly denied the charge.

Mr Treebhoowoon was asked about a number of statements he made to police which were referred to in earlier cross-examination by Mr Moneea's lawyer, Rama Valayden, who put it to him that there was "no truth in them at all".

Mr Treebhoowoon had replied "no there isn't".

Mr Manrakhan seized on this later in proceedings, asking Mr Treebhoowoon to explain which part of the statements were untrue.

Mr Treebhoowoon said the statement he gave to police the day Michaela died in which he admitted cleaning her room was true. But he said that the police had told him that his questioning was "just a formality", and they were not truthful with him about this.

He said the contents of a statement he gave the following day were true but that it was incomplete because police stopped asking him questions once he told them there had been a 'do not disturb' sign on the door of the McAreaveys' room, number 1025.

He said: "I was not given an opportunity to explain further."

Mr Manrakhan told Mr Treebhoowoon he was "drowning in lies" at one point and the defendant denied this.

The prosecutor pressed further on the issue of the 'do not disturb' sign, asking why he cleaned the McAreaveys' room if the notice was on the door.

Mr Treebhoowoon said that he had met John in the corridor and asked him if he wanted the room cleaned, only to be told to come back in five minutes.

Supervisor

There was a 'do not disturb' sign on the door when he returned so he found his supervisor, Mr Moneea, to ask him what he should do. He said Mr Moneea called room 1025, and -- getting no answer -- told him to go and clean the room.

Mr Manrakhan asked if he was breaking hotel rules doing this and Mr Treebhoowoon said: "I have previously got into trouble because a client asked me to clean but I did not as there was a 'do not disturb' sign, so I had to ask my supervisor."

The prosecutor questioned him on the times he cleaned a number of rooms that day, saying that the times he recorded on his work sheets matched some door key card readings and not others.

Mr Manrakhan said: "I put it to you that you are lying in your room report sheets?" to which Mr Treebhoowoon replied: "No I am not lying."

He asked him why he returned to certain rooms he had already cleaned and Mr Treebhoowoon said it was to place a cocktail promotion card in the rooms for "new guests".

Mr Manrakhan said that the McAreaveys did not fall into this category as they had arrived two days earlier, putting it to the witness that he had also left them a cocktail card.

He said: "You just lied again in court." Mr Treebhoowoon replied: "No I did not lie . . . maybe I made a mistake."

Mr Manrakhan said: "Looks like you are telling a lot of lies."

Mr Treebhoowoon returns to the witness box today.

Irish Independent

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