Printed Michaela photos ‘done for sensationalism’

The publication of pictures of the body of Michaela McAreavey “was done for sensationalism”, a prosecution solicitor told a Mauritius court yesterday.

Ms McAreavey, 27, daughter of Tyrone GAA manager Mickey Harte, was murdered in Jan 2011 while on honeymoon at the island’s Legends hotel. Two men were acquitted of her murder last year.

Imran Hosany, editor of the island’s Sunday Times, was arrested on Jul 18, 2012, after the newspaper carried one of the pictures on the front page.

He was charged with outrage against public and religious morality.

The prosecution and the defence produced their submissions at the Intermediary Court yesterday and the verdict will be delivered on May 29.

Prosecutor Medhi Manrakhan said several facts remained undisputed in the case, including that the photos were taken by police constable Harris Jeewooth during police investigation of the scene and were meant to be used by the police, the prosecution, and the defence only.

“It was certainly not intended to land in the hands of the accused,” said Mr Manrakhan.

At a previous hearing, Mr Jeewooth identified the photographs and confirmed they were identical to those he had taken at the scene of the murder.

During a police search Mr Hosany’s office, a USB storage key was found containing the pictures.

“The right to freedom of expression does have its limit. It does not give journalists the permission to publish what they like,” said Mr Manrakhan.

He said the photos in the Sunday Times undermined Ms McAreavey’s dignity.

Defence counsel Akil Bissessur said “publishing photographs of dead bodies cannot be considered as outrageous. There is no evidence of complaints recorded as to the outrageous aspects of the said pictures”.

Mr Bissessur said his client had no duty to reveal where he obtained the photos.

“The trial received a lot of media attention and it was in the interest of the public that the pictures were published.”

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