Monday 18 December 2017

Michaela murder trial: John corrects evidence to court

John McAreavey (left), husband of Michaela McAreavey, arrives at the supreme court in Port Louis
Sandip Mooneea arrives at court
Avinash Treebhoowon
John McAreavey, husband of Michaela McAreavey, leaves after giving evidence at the supreme court. Photo: PA
John McAreavey arrives at the Supreme Court in Mauritius yesterday to give evidence at the murder trial of his wife
John McAreavey arrives at the court in Port Louis yesterday with Mark Harte
A similar room several doors down from where Michaela was killed at the Legends Hotel in Mauritius.
Murdered Michaela McAreavey and her husband John on their wedding day (Irish News/PA)

David Young

THE widower of murdered honeymooner Michaela McAreavey has moved to correct part of the evidence he gave to the trial of two men accused of the crime.

A lawyer for John McAreavey made a statement in Mauritius's Supreme Court indicating that his client made an error in the witness box and wanted to amend it.

His 27-year-old wife - the daughter of Tyrone gaelic football boss Mickey Harte - was found strangled in her room in the luxury Legends Hotel on the holiday island in January last year.

The prosecution claims she was murdered by Legends employees Sandip Moneea and Avinash Treebhoowoon when she returned to the room to fetch some biscuits and found them stealing.

In emotional evidence yesterday, Mr McAreavey revealed that he offered to get the biscuits for his wife but she told him not to worry because he had already done it for her the night before.

But he was challenged by defence lawyer Rama Valayden, representing Moneea, who said electronic readings of entries to the room that evening did not tally with his account.

Today Mr McAreavey's lawyer Dick Ng Sui Wa said his client wanted to inform the court that he had got the date wrong and the incident actually happened two days before the January 10 murder.

"In fact, it was not on January 9 2011, it was on the 8th and that's the reason it was not borne out in the room readings," he explained.

A lawyer for Treebhoowoon, Sanjeev Teeluckdharry, insisted that Mr Ng Sui Wa was in court with a watching brief for a witness and so could not admit evidence.

Mr Ng Sui Wa said it was not evidence, just a statement.

Judge Mr Justice Prithviraj Fecknah agreed and pointed out that if he wanted the information to be included as formal evidence, then the prosecution would need to make an official motion to court.

Chief prosecutor Mehdi Manrakhan said he would consider the statement before deciding whether to proceed with a motion.

Mr McAreavey sat in the front row of the public gallery of courtroom 5 in Port Louis watching the legal exchanges.

He had been unable to attend proceedings until yesterday when he completed his evidence.

Today he sat with his father Brendan, sister Claire and brother-in-law Mark Harte.

Former Legends room attendant Treebhoowoon, 31, from Plaine des Roches, and floor supervisor Moneea, 42, from Petit Raffray, deny murdering Irish language and religious education teacher Mrs McAreavey, from Ballygawley, Co Tyrone.

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