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Michaela murder trial facing delay of one year, hearing told

A HOLD-UP in typing transcripts from previous court hearings could delay the trial of two men accused of murdering Michaela Harte by another year.

John McAreavey (31) had been told the hotel workers charged with killing his bride could go on trial later this year, after she was found dead in January during the couple's honeymoon in Mauritius.

But this week, a court on the island heard a delay in the processing of crucial legal documents meant prosecutors had been unable to table the case against Avinash Treebhowon (29) and Sandip Moneea (41).

Yesterday, Mr Treebhowon's lawyer Sanjeev Teeluckdharry said the hold-up could mean the trial would not be heard until at least September 2012.

Mr Teeluckdharry said: "Earlier this year we were optimistic the trial date could be set soon.

"But I know from my other cases that trials are now being set for next July or September. It seems unlikely we will get progress before then."

Mr Teeluckdharry was speaking following a court hearing on Wednesday at which Mr Treebhowon, a hotel room cleaner, was due to apply for bail.

The matter, which is being considered by the Mauritius Supreme Court, was postponed until next week because one of the key judges was sick.

Crucial evidence was heard during a three-week hearing in June, after which a magistrate ruled the suspects could be sent to a higher court for trial.

However, the court was told prosecutors were unable to process the case until they had received the documents.

In the meantime, Mr Treebhowon and Mr Moneea are in custody.

Irish Independent