Saturday 23 September 2017

Michaela judge: Don't worry about Mauritius reputation

Judge Prithviraj Fekna pictured at the Supreme Court in Mauritius
Avinash Treebhoowoon
Sandip Mooneea

David Young

A JUDGE has told jurors in the trial of two men accused of murdering honeymooner Michaela McAreavey to ignore any ramifications their verdicts may have on the reputation of Mauritius.

The daughter of Tyrone gaelic football manager Mickey Harte was found strangled in her room at the luxury Legends hotel on the island last January.

Former staff members Avinash Treebhoowoon and Sandip Moneea deny her murder.

Giving directions to the jury at the Supreme Court in Port Louis, Justice Prithviraj Fecknah referred to remarks by lawyers for the defendants claiming the verdicts would send a signal out to the world about Mauritius.

"I have to remind you this is not your role and you are not to allow yourselves to be influenced by such considerations," he said.

The judge added: "You are not politicians and you cannot allow yourselves to be swayed by political considerations."

Court broke for lunch after the judge had spoken for two hours. He said he would resume his address in the afternoon. The jury is expected to retire some time after that.

The prosecution claims the accused attacked the 27-year-old teacher when she interrupted them stealing in the room, having momentarily left her husband John at a poolside restaurant to fetch biscuits.

The high profile case was originally listed to run nine days but is now in its eighth week.

The tragic newlywed's widower sat in the packed court accompanied by his father Brendan, sister Claire and brother-in-law Mark Harte.

Treebhoowoon, 32, from Plaine de Roches, worked as a room attendant at Legends while Moneea, 43, from Petit Raffray, was his floor supervisor.

They were arrested at the hotel the day after the murder.

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