Friday 23 February 2018

Police brutality claim 'from movie'

Cormac McQuinn in Mauritius

ONE of the men accused of killing honeymooner Michaela McAreavey took his claims of police brutality from "a film", prosecutors said yesterday

Former hotel worker Avinash Treebhoowoon has claimed he only confessed to involvement in the botched robbery police say led to her death after he was beaten and tortured.

Yesterday prosecutor Mehdi Manrakhan rubbished these allegations and put it to him that his claim that a police officer threatened him with a gun must have been something he saw in a movie.

He also asked the accused man why a doctor's report showed "no external injuries" even though he has said he was "slapped" at least 13 times prior to his examination in hospital.

Mr Manrakhan went through Mr Treebhoowoon's confession asking at the end of each sentence whether it was true, with Mr Treebhoowoon maintaining it was false.

In the statement, the 31-year-old admitted that along with his supervisor Sandip Moneea (41) he was attempting to steal from the honeymoon suite Michaela was sharing with her husband John.

It says that she interrupted them and that Mr Moneea strangled her to death.

Mr Treebhoowoon has claimed he only signed the confession after days of torture by police including beatings to his feet and simulated drowning.

He said in testimony that the head of the unit, Assistant Commissioner Yusef Soopun, allegedly carried out the torture, threatening him with a gun if he wouldn't confess.

Yesterday Mr Manrakhan mocked this claim, saying: "How can you say Mr Soopun showed you a gun?

"Where did you get that, in a film?"

"No," replied Mr Treebhoowoon.

The lawyer continued: "How can he show you something he doesn't have?" But the defendant maintained: "He had a gun near his foot."

Mr Manrakhan said police armoury records were "proof that he never had a gun".

Mr Treebhoowoon's lawyer Sanjeev Teeluckdharry objected saying the records did not prove that Mr Soopun did not have a privately owned weapon, or that one of his officers who were armed had not given him a gun.

Mr Manrakhan put it to the accused that he had claimed to have been slapped on 13 occasions in detention but that a doctor who examined him on January 12, 2011, "found no external injury".

He asked Mr Treebhoowoon to explain why that was and the defendant answered: "When the doctor examined me I did not remove my shirt."

Asked why, he said that officers had entered the hospital ahead of him when he was examined.

Mr Manrakhan said: "You told your father: 'Forget your son now I made a mistake'."

Mr Treebhoowoon denied saying that to his father, who is due to appear as a witness today.

Irish Independent

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