Friday 15 December 2017

Charge dropped against last suspect in Michaela case

Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

A CHARGE has been dropped against the last suspect still before the courts in relation to the events surrounding the death of Michaela McAreavey.

The move came as three PSNI detectives arrived in Mauritius to help police with a review of the investigation.

A judge on the Indian Ocean island ruled that a hotel worker could not be held on a provisional charge of conspiracy to commit larceny for an "infinite term". Former security guard Dassen Narayanen, who was yesterday brought before the District Court in Mapou, was one of three men charged in connection with Mrs McAreavey's death in January 2011.

Her husband, John, found her strangled in their hotel room in a luxury resort.

Two of the men, Sandip Moneea and Avinash Treebhoowoon, were charged with murder at the former Legends Hotel but were later acquitted after a two-month trial.

Police on the island have launched a new investigation – involving different officers – into the circumstances of Mrs McAreavey's death.

Mr Narayanen had faced a provisional charge of conspiring with Mr Moneea to burgle Mrs McAreavey's room, but magistrate Shefali Ganoo yesterday ordered the charge be struck out.

In January, he gave the prosecution until March 1 to lodge the main case or the provisional charge would be struck out.

He had ruled that the charge of conspiracy to commit larceny was linked to the murder case, and told the court this had raised certain complexities as the inquiry had to be reopened.

Lawyer Kevin Rangasamy, representing the island's DPP, said the prosecution was still awaiting the findings of the forensic team.

"It is reiterated that Mr Narayanen's case is closely linked to the murder of the late Mrs Michaela McAreavey. Furthermore, members of the Irish police force have instigated further investigation in the matter," Mr Rangasamy said.

The court heard the prosecution feared that without a provisional charge Mr Narayanen would be able to leave the jurisdiction.

He was described as an "essential figure in any forthcoming reopening of the trial".

Outside court, Mr Narayanen's defence lawyer, Vikash Teeluckdharry, said the decision proved his client was held under a provisional charge for nearly two years unjustly.

Irish Independent

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