Thursday 19 October 2017

Michaela defence in call for fresh probe

Cormac McQuinn in Mauritius

DEFENCE lawyers at the trial of two men accused of murdering Michaela McAreavey have called for a new investigation into her death, claiming that her "real murderer is still at large".

Lawyers for former hotel workers Avinash Treebhoowoon and Sandip Moneea both slated the police inquiry that has seen their clients end up in the dock.

The pair are accused of killing the honeymooner during a botched robbery in her room in the Legends resort.

In calling for a new inquiry, the lawyers, Sanjeev Teeluckdharry and Rama Valayden, said it was the only way Michaela's family would ever find out who killed her.

Beginning his speech, Mr Teeluckdharry compared the prosecution case to a "vegetable that appears to be fresh but inside it is infested with worms and maggots".

He mocked prosecutor Mehdi Manrakhan for saying the police should be "congratulated" on their investigation and for "bringing the accused to trial in record time".

He asked incredulously: "He wants us to congratulate (Assistant Commissioner Yusef Soopun) for catastrophic failures in the inquiry?"

And he asked if he should congratulate officers "for having tortured my client repeatedly and relentlessly".

Mr Treebhoowoon has claimed that he only signed a confession statement after being beaten by police.

Mr Teeluckdharry said: "This inquiry, if you could call it an inquiry at all, is a shambles."

Abuses

He said: "It is my humble opinion that this whole inquiry needs to be re-opened."

The lawyer, who has been responsible for many of the smears against John McAreavey during the course of the case, claimed that there had been "disturbing aspects" in his testimony.

He described the widower as "evasive and defensive in cross-examination".

"It has never been my intention to hurt anyone here, to prosecute anyone," Mr Teeluckdharry said.

"But my duty as counsel is to explore all avenues that lead to the truth because I know more than anyone that the two men in the dock are innocent," he added.

Mr Valayden appeared more sympathetic to Michaela's husband and said that the "finger of suspicion" would never have been pointed at him if the police had done their job properly and excluded him.

He branded the police investigation as "amateurism" and compared some of their alleged methods to abuses in Iraq, Burma and Zimbabwe.

Closing his address, Mr Valayden told the jury that the "real" killer had not been found and added: "For God's sake, don't in any way whatsoever cause another injury to Michaela, wherever she is. Please do your job. Please find them not guilty."

Judge Prithviraj Fecknah is to give his summation of the case on Thursday, after which the jury will be asked to decide on their verdict.

Irish Independent

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