North’s attorney general set to examine murder files

The North’s attorney general is to examine papers from the trial into the murder of honeymooner Michaela McAreavey.

Deputy first minister Martin McGuinness said the perpetrators of the Mauritian killing in Jan 2011 could still be brought to justice after meeting the country’s acting high commissioner in London.

“I’m told that there is every prospect that there could be a new trial,” he said.

Legends hotel workers Sandip Mooneea and Avinash Treebhoowon were cleared of the murder by a jury at the Supreme Court in Port Louis last week.

Ahead of the meeting, Mr McGuinness branded their acquittal perverse and said he disagreed with the unanimous verdict.

But following the 45 minute talks with Mohamed Latona, he urged the Mauritian authorities to take a very determined approach to finding and prosecuting those responsible for the murder.

He said the meeting was to discuss the appalling handling of the case and the appalling way the families, the Hartes and McAreaveys, had been treated during the investigation and the trial.

“There’s a very strong view on the island of Ireland and shared by the McAreavey and Harte families that they did not get justice,” Mr McGuinness said. “I do disagree with the verdict of the jury.”

The chief legal adviser to the Northern Ireland Executive, attorney general John Larkin, is expecting to receive material about the trial soon, his office confirmed.

“We do not have anything yet but we are going to have a look at them and talk to the authorities over there. They have been very open about things, they are quite keen for us to be on board,” a spokesman said.

Pressure has been building for police in Britain and Ireland to assist in the reinvestigation following last week’s acquittal.

Mauritian prime minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam has said he would invite officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland and gardaí to assist officers still investigating the murder of Mrs McAreavey, daughter of the Tyrone Gaelic football manager Mickey Harte.

Mr McGuinness said: “I think it’s absolutely vital that their participation and involvement in this can only be in the context of there being a new trial — that is absolutely essential. We can’t have a situation where people are just going to come and examine papers and then walk away.”

Mr Robinson has said the prime minister had written to him, indicating his willingness to have Scotland Yard give assistance. “The way the courtroom proceedings unfolded, with senior lawyers considering it a matter of comedy routine, while we are dealing with the murder of a young woman on her honeymoon, seems utterly preposterous and something that would never happen here.”

Mr Latona said he explained to Mr McGuinness that the government of Mauritius will take all necessary action to bring the perpetrators to justice, had started some action, and was looking forward to collaboration with the PSNI, gardaí and Scotland Yard.

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