McAreavey papers to be examined

The North's Attorney General is to examine papers from the trial into the murder of honeymooner Michaela McAreavey.

McAreavey papers to be examined

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 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 Moneea and Avinash Treebhoowoon were cleared of the murder by a jury at the Supreme Court in Port Louis last Thursday.

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

But following the talks he urged the Mauritian authorities to take a very determined approach to finding and prosecuting those responsible for the young newlywed’s murder.

Stormont First Minister Peter Robinson said he was appalled at some of the events surrounding the trial.

Mrs McAreavey, 27, from Co Tyrone, was killed in her room at the hotel while on honeymoon in January 2011.

After an eight-week trial, jurors had deliberated on her death for about two hours before clearing the two suspects.

The Deputy First Minister met Acting High Commissioner Mohamed Latona for 45 minutes.

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 in a morning interview on RTE Radio. He added: “I do disagree with the verdict of the jury.”

The chief legal adviser to the Northern Ireland Executive, Attorney General John Larkin QC, 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.

Mr McGuinness’s meeting took place as the editor of the Mauritius Sunday Times was expected to be charged over the publication of photographs of Ms McAreavey as she lay dead in her honeymoon hotel suite.

Instead Imran Hosany was reportedly taken to hospital after fainting while waiting to appear in court on charges believed to be related to the publication.

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

Prime Minister of Mauritius Navinchandra Ramgoolam has said he would invite officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland and Ireland’s Garda 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 Mauritian prime minister had written to him, indicating his willingness to have Scotland Yard give assistance.

“The authorities in Mauritius recognise that they have not covered themselves with glory in terms of the way the investigation was handled,” he said.

Mr Robinson added: “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.”

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, has ordered the country’s ambassador to Mauritius, Brendan McMahon, to meet officials on the island.

Acting Mauritian High Commissioner Mohamed 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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