Saturday 20 January 2018

Cleared McAreavey man seeks £1.5m

Avinash Treebhoowoon, who was cleared of murdering Michaela McAreavey, is seeking compensation from authorities in Mauritius
Avinash Treebhoowoon, who was cleared of murdering Michaela McAreavey, is seeking compensation from authorities in Mauritius

One of the men cleared of murdering Michaela McAreavey is seeking £1.5 million compensation from the Mauritian authorities, his lawyer has revealed.

Avinash Treebhoowoon, 32, claims his arrest and detention was arbitrary, illegal and that he was relentlessly tortured. His lawyer Sanjeev Teeluckdharry said: "This claim has been lodged because of all the prejudice, detention, torture and humiliation my client suffered."

After his arrest, Treebhoowoon's wife suffered a miscarriage, he claimed. Mr Teeluckdharry said: "His parents have also suffered humiliation. He was already branded a murderer and has not been re-integrated into employment. He is still jobless."

Michaela, 27, the only daughter of the Tyrone GAA manager Mickey Harte, was murdered while on honeymoon at the luxury Legends Hotel resort in January 2011. Treebhoowoon and a second hotel worker, Sandip Moneea, 43, were found not guilty of the murder last July.

They were arrested the day after Michaela was found strangled in a bath by her husband John McAreavey.

Mr Teeluckdharry said papers had been lodged against the Mauritian State and police. He said since the trial, which was the longest and most high profile in Mauritian history, Treebhoowoon has been shunned by society.

"It is difficult for him (to find a job)," said Mr Teeluckdharry. "He has been trying his luck everywhere but everybody knows about him. Even though his name has been cleared they are unwilling to take him into employment - especially tourist resorts."

The legal papers claim Treebhoowoon's arrest was not based on reasonable suspicion. They say the prosecuting authorities rubber-stamped the police investigation even though the island's major crime investigation team had failed to carry out a basic inquiry.

"They just wanted a scapegoat," added Mr Teeluckdharry. "They have tortured him and deprived him of his rights as a suspect. Furthermore they detained him for 18 months and consistently objected to his release on bail. There was no evidence at all except that forced physical impossible confession."

The documents suggest police misled the public into believing there was DNA evidence and CCTV footage linking Treebhoowoon to the crime scene and that the Mauritian police disturbed the scene during reconstruction exercises.

Press Association

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