Friday 19 January 2018

Defence lawyer urged to 'accelerate' questioning

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

"THE charge is very serious and my client may be sent to hell for 60 years. I need the time to cross-examine witnesses," barked defence lawyer Sanjeev Teeluckdharry.

He was hitting back at the impatience of prosecutor Mehdi Manrakhan, who is finding it increasingly difficult to hide his frustration at the slow pace of proceedings at the Michaela McAreavey murder trial.

And, it's Mr Teeluckdharry, with his meticulous, forensic and sometimes downright pernickety cross-examination of witnesses which the prosecution has been blaming for the trial running seriously behind schedule.

Originally set to last two weeks, with the bulk of the testimony yet to be heard -- including evidence from key witnesses including Michaela's husband, John -- the trial has now been extended by a fortnight.

On Thursday, Mr Manrakhan begged the defence lawyer to "accelerate" his questioning, adding: "We're going to go into next year if he keeps going like this."

At various times during yesterday's proceedings, Mr Manrakhan failed to conceal his impatience with Mr Teeluckdharry's questioning style, pointing out that the prosecution still had 24 witnesses yet to appear.

And that's before the defence calls almost 20 of its own.

It was not long before yesterday's adjournment for lunch that the exasperated prosecutor demanded to know: "How long more will he take?"

As infuriating as it can be for onlookers, Mr Teeluckdharry's questions on the minutiae of every apparently insignificant detail of the case has elicited concessions from witnesses.

His questioning of Chief Inspector Luciano Gerard led the police officer to admit that he had interrogated Avinash Treebhoowoon without his lawyers present, saying angrily: "This is a murder case and it is very important to take statements quickly so as justice is not defeated."

Irish Independent

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