The angry exchanges on the fourth day of the trial of two men for the murder of Michaela McAreavey developed after police Sergeant Govinder Ramasawmy told the court that he gave a “sex guide” manual to husband John three days after his wife was killed, along with 12 other possessions from their room in the luxury hotel.
These included a laptop, mobile phones and personal items.
In cross-examination, Sanjeev Teeluckdharry, representing accused Avinash Treebhoowoon, had asked whether an effort had been made by police to examine the contents of the phones and the sites looked at on the laptop.
This sparked the first verbal clash between Mr Teeluckdharry and principal state counsel Mehdi Manrakhan.
Judge Mr Justice Prithviraj Fecknah warned both lawyers that he would not tolerate personal exchanges, but tensions increased when Mr Teeluckdharry turned to the sex manual.
Despite Sergeant Ramasawmy’s insistence he had not looked inside the book, Mr Teeluckdharry twice asked him to comment on whether it contained extreme material.
After the state’s objections, the judge intervened again. He said the line of questioning was not appropriate for a witness who had not examined the book.
“I can see where you are going with this,” Justice Fecknah told the defence lawyer. “I think you are asking the wrong witness.”
Sgt Ramasawmy accompanied John McAreavey back to room 1025 in the hotel the day before he handed him the possessions, to get the bereaved husband to show police how he found his wife in the bath.
After cross-examination by Mr Teeluckdharry, Rama Valayden, a lawyer for the second accused, Sandip Moneea, pressed the officer on his actions in the days after the murder.
He accused Sgt Ramasawmy of not interviewing a number of employees and guests at Legends who could have assisted the investigation, including a German couple who, the barrister claimed, were not asked to make statements because they could not speak English.
“Officer, you did not do anything in that inquiry. In fact you participated in bungling that inquiry,” Mr Valayden said.
Sgt Ramasawmy rejected the allegation: “No, my lord.”
The case against Treebhoowoon, from Plaine des Roches, and Moneea, from Petit Raffray, was scheduled to last two weeks but is set to go on for much longer, with Judge Fecknah having warned that a “lengthy trial” was ahead.
Mrs McAreavey, from Ballygawley, Co Tyrone, was the only daughter of Mickey Harte, the Gaelic football manager who steered his native county to three All-Ireland championships.
The Legends Hotel, which has since been renamed the Lux Hotel, is in the fishing village of Grand Gaube, close to Mauritius’s Grand Bay.
Mrs McAreavey taught religious education and Irish at St Patrick’s Academy in Dungannon, Co Tyrone.
Her Requiem Mass was held close to her family home at St Malachy’s chapel in Ballymacilroy — the same church in which she married a fortnight before she was killed.
Then president Mary McAleese was among dignitaries at a funeral attended by more than 3,000 people, as the newlywed was buried in her wedding dress.
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