Two for court on Michaela murder charge
Published 10/01/2012 | 05:00
TWO men accused of murdering honeymooner Michaela Harte will appear in court in Mauritius this week as her family mark the first anniversary of her brutal death.
It is one year ago today since the daughter of Tyrone GAA boss Mickey Harte was strangled in the luxury Mauritius hotel where she was spending her honeymoon with her new husband, John McAreavey.
However, legal sources say that delays in the Mauritian legal system mean the trial might not go ahead until the end of this year -- or even early 2013.
Co Down footballer Mr McAreavey and Mr Harte and are planning Michaela's anniversary Mass for Friday.
A large crowd is expected at the small church in Ballymacilroy, Co Tyrone, where Michaela and Mr McAreavey were married.
The two men accused of her murder are due to appear before the Supreme Court in Mauritius tomorrow.
Charges will be formally read out to hotel workers Avinash Treebhowon (29) and Sandip Moneea (41).
A trial date is also expected to be set.
Defence lawyer Sanjeev Teeluckdharry, who represents Mr Treebhowon, yesterday said both men would plead not guilty during the hearing in the capital, Port Louis.
"The matter has been referred to the Supreme Court at 10am on Wednesday where the two defendants will have the charges read to them and be asked to enter a plea," Mr Teeluckdharry said.
"My client and his co-accused vigorously deny any involvement in this tragedy and will plead not guilty.
"The court will then set a date on which a trial can begin," he said.
The trial of the two suspects in Michaela's murder comes after Mauritian state prosecutors announced in December that they believed there was sufficient evidence to mount a formal case against Mr Treebhowon and Mr Moneea.
It also followed a lengthy preliminary inquiry last summer.
The men, who worked in the five-star Legends Hotel in Grand Gaube, have been in custody for the past year.
Mr McAreavey will have to give evidence when the case finally goes to trial -- and relive the harrowing events of last year.
He has not been back to Mauritius since he brought his wife's body home for her funeral last January.
And although hewas not asked to attend the preliminary inquiry into her murder, he is listed to give evidence in the trial.