Attempts to explore the sex life of murdered honeymooner Michaela McAreavey and her husband provoked fierce clashes at the trial of two men accused of the crime.
A defence lawyer’s bid to question a police officer about a sex manual found in the Mauritius hotel room where the daughter of Gaelic football boss Mickey Harte was strangled was met with fury by the prosecution, and the case was adjourned for a period.
Principal state counsel Mehdi Manrakhan reacted angrily when Sanjeev Teeluckdharry, representing accused Avinash Treebhoowoon, asked the officer if the book, called The Ultimate Sex Guide, contained material of a violent nature.
“I object in the strongest possible terms,” Mr Manrakhan said as legal colleagues slammed papers on the benches in outrage.
Mr Teeluckdharry earlier insisted the book went to “the crux of the defence’s case”.
“We are trying to unveil the truth,” said the barrister after Mr Manrakhan’s intervention.
Judge Mr Justice Prithviraj Fecknah upheld the objections of the prosecution, telling Mr Teeluckdharry that such questions should not be directed at the witness — police sergeant Govinder Ramasawmy — as he had already told the court he had not examined the book’s contents.
Mrs McAreavey’s brother Mark Harte looked at the floor, while her sister-in-law Claire watched the heated exchanges in a packed and humid courtroom in Port Louis.
Her widower, John, who has returned to the island for the trial, was not allowed to attend proceedings, as he is due to be called as a prosecution witness.
Legends Hotel employees Treebhoowoon, 30, and Sandip Moneea, 42, deny the premeditated murder of the 27-year-old teacher from Co Tyrone.
Mrs McAreavey was found dead in her hotel room shortly after lunching with her husband by a pool at the hotel in Jan 2011.
The prosecution claims that she returned to her hotel room to fetch biscuits for her tea and caught the accused stealing from her room.
Police inspector Sunilduth Nucchedy began giving his evidence to the court before proceedings were closed for the week shortly after 2pm.
The officer described the crime scene photographs taken in the room.
These included pictures of Mrs McAreavey’s body. Mr Nucchedy said bruise and scratch marks were clearly visible on the newlywed’s neck and face.
A jury of six men and three women is hearing the case and almost 50 witnesses are listed to give evidence.
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