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Pre-trial of Michaela murder suspects is delayed

THE preliminary inquiry into honeymooner Michaela Harte's brutal murder in Mauritius has yet to hear evidence from a single witness in the case.

Raj Theekoy, the prosecution's star witness who will testify against the two men accused of Ms Harte's murder, appeared in court in Mapou yesterday.

The hotel cleaner was previously charged with conspiracy to commit murder, but the charge against him was dropped after he agreed to give evidence against Avinash Treebhowon (30) and Sandip Moneea (41).

One of the chief investigators into Ms Harte's murder, Det Insp Ranjit Jonkhoo, also appeared in court to give evidence for the prosecution. However, all of the witnesses were asked to return on Monday afternoon.

Speaking outside the courthouse, Det Insp Jonkhoo reiterated that the CCTV from the Legends Hotel has been viewed by the police, but none of it was deemed relevant to the prosecution's case.

Initially, the preliminary inquiry was expected to last three days, but it has been delayed by defence lawyers.

They are arguing that senior magistrate Sheila Bonomally cannot give the accused men a fair hearing because the magistrate refused bail to one accused, Mr Treebhowon, but not the other, Mr Moneea.

They also want to cross-examine Ms Harte's husband, John McAreavey. But in a ruling earlier this week, the judge stated this was not necessary in advance of an actual trial.

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