Monday 23 April 2018

John shouts 'lies' as frustration boils over

Cormac McQuinn In Mauritius

JOHN McAreavey's courtroom outburst about "lies" reflected the "pain and frustration" he is going through, his family said last night.

The husband of slain honeymooner Michaela McAreavey claimed that allegations of police torture made in court by accused man Avinash Treebhoowoon were "lies".

The extraordinary intervention from the public gallery came as Mr Treebhoowoon's lawyer Sanjeev Teeluckdharry was outlining his client's claims of torture during questioning.

Last night, the families of both Mr McAreavey and his wife admitted their patience had been tested by the "tortuously slow" proceedings in the Mauritian Supreme Court.

In a joint statement they said: "The remark made by John this morning from the gallery of the courthouse is uncharacteristic but it reflects the frustration and pain felt by both families.

"It has been a very testing and relentless five weeks and the pace of proceedings is tortuously slow. The families ask for continued prayers and support from the public as they endure this ordeal in the pursuit of justice for Michaela."

Mr Treebhoowoon (31) and Sandip Moneea (42), both deny murdering Michaela at the former Legends Hotel in Mauritius on January 10 last year.

Earlier, defence lawyer Mr Teeluckdharry said that he had heard the claims his client was beaten and subjected to simulated drowning by police many times, but that even he was "not immune" to the account of torture, adding it was "not for the faint hearted".

It was at this point that John McAreavey was heard to clearly say the word "lies".

Aside from his own testimony, Mr McAreavey has never before spoken out during the trial, which has entered its sixth week.

He has remained silent during proceedings despite continuous innuendo from defence lawyers that that he had some role in Michaela's death.

The defence continued with this strategy despite prosecution objections and police clearing Mr McAreavey of any involvement in his wife's death.

And yesterday Mr Teeluckdharry again made several references to Mr McAreavey during his 70-minute presentation to the jury.

Mr Teeluckdharry outlined Mr Treebhoowoon's expected testimony, saying: "He will tell you how he was wrongly accused, tortured relentlessly by unscrupulous police officers intending to obtain a confession.

"How he was threatened and how he was made to suffocate in a pail of water into which his head was plunged."

DNA

Earlier, Mr Teeluckdharry told the court that no DNA from the two accused men was found in the McAreaveys' hotel room but that "we have DNA of John McAreavey".

He added: "Other items had DNA of Dassen Naraynan, but I am surprised just as you are that Mr Naraynan is not in the dock."

Mr Naraynan, a former security guard at Legends, was originally charged in connection with Michaela's murder but those charges were dropped and replaced with conspiracy to commit larceny.

He will be tried separately at a later date.

The trial continues

Irish Independent

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