Wednesday 13 November 2019

Mauritian police want more time to probe guard's actions

Former hotel security guard Dassen Narayanen
Former hotel security guard Dassen Narayanen
Murdered newlywed Michaela McAreavey
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

MAURITIAN police investigating the death of Irish honeymooner Michaela McAreavey have asked for more time to examine the actions of former Legends Hotel security guard Dassen Narayanen.

Amid speculation that he may be re-arrested by detectives as part of a new probe into the tragic bride's murder, Mr Narayanen appeared at a brief court hearing yesterday, where the police made their request.

The fresh police inquiry into the bride's brutal killing was ordered following last month's acquittal of hotel workers Avinash Treebhoowoon and Sandip Moneea, who had been accused of her murder.

Mr Narayanen still faces a provisional larceny charge after being accused of conspiring with Mr Moneea to steal from the honeymoon suite Michaela was sharing with her husband John in January 2011.

He is the only remaining suspect facing charges linked to Michaela's death. His lawyer Poonum Sookun now says the charge should be struck out as the Mauritian Supreme Court has cleared his alleged co- conspirator Mr Moneea of the honeymooner's murder.

At the start of the first police investigation, provisional murder charges against Mr Narayanen were downgraded to larceny after he implicated Mr Moneea in an alleged attempted theft in the McAreavey's room.

However he has since claimed that he only told police that he gave a "dummy" key card for their suite to Mr Moneea after officers threatened him at gunpoint.

A possible match for the security guard's DNA was found at the crime scene, though he says that he was only entered the hotel room to help John McAreavey after he found his wife's lifeless body in the bathtub.

Mr Narayanen has denied any involvement in her killing.

Ms Sookun told the Irish Independent that the charge against her client was "an impossible offence" given the not guilty verdict handed down in the murder trial.

Complaints

According to her, prosecutors were to have outlined their case against Mr Narayanen at yesterday's hearing.

However, this is now being put back to October 12 after a police witness from the Central Criminal Investigation Division asked for more time for its enquiries.

Another officer from the police's internal Complaints Investigation Bureau -- which handles allegations of police brutality -- also asked the court for more time to investigate Mr Narayanen's complaint that he was threatened at gunpoint.

Ms Sookun said afterwards that the continuing charge against her client was "very unfair" because as she put it: "No person should be subjected to such prejudices and an impending trial on this basis when the police are going to be fishing for more evidence."

She said: "The charge that is against Dassen is for me an impossible offence because he is charged for conspiracy to commit larceny in collaboration with Sandip Moneea. And now we know that Sandip Moneea has been found innocent. A conspiracy cannot be done by only one person and the charge itself is therefore flawed."

Commenting on speculation that her client may be re-arrested during the fresh investigation into Michaela's death, she said: "If they had anything new I think today was the day to have Dassen arrested and not to come and insist in court to sustain a charge that is legally not founded."

Irish Independent

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