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Newspaper images could hinder Michaela inquiry - lawyer

The McAreavey family lawyer in Mauritius said the publication of images from the crime scene could hinder further inquiries or the prospect of another trial.

Image: Irish News/PA Archive/Press Association Images

AS THE TÁNAISTE meets with the Irish ambassador to Mauritius this morning about the publication of images of the body of Michaela McAreavey yesterday, a lawyer for the family has said that the newspaper’s actions could hinder the continuing murder inquiry and prospects of another trial.

Speaking to Morning Ireland, Mauritian lawyer Dick Su Wa said that the Sunday Times, which printed 12 black-and-white images taken in the aftermath of the murder on 10 January last year, could have created a problem for the police.

However, he was doubtful that the images had ended up at the publication because of a police leak.

“I have my own feeling…it is not very difficult to make an assessment,” he said but disagreed with suggestions that the photos were given to the paper from someone inside the police force. “Not necessarily….I don’t think within the police force.”

The images printed in the paper included one front page photo of the 27-year-old schoolteacher’s lifeless body with an ‘Exclusive’ tag placed above it. There were also images of her injuries, hotel room 1025, its bathroom and other angles of the crime scene.

Su Wa said he has requested a formal inquiry into how the images ended up in the public domain, adding that he hopes whoever is responsible will be arrested.

The Sunday Times newspaper is a new tabloid in Mauritius and the native lawyer said the island’s other publication would “never have produced such photos”.

“It is clear that they acted against all norms of journalism,” he said. “They have done something that is revolting. They should not have done that…there was no thought for the family, the family dignity, the people at large in the public that are hurt.”

Su Wa was pessimistic about Michaela’s killer being brought to justice. “I don’t like giving false expectations,” he said. “It is a good thing that the police is going to require further.”

He also revealed that independent experts from France and England have been summoned to Mauritius to provide advice to authorities.

Eamon Gilmore told RTÉ that he would raise the issue with the ambassador this morning as the Government is determined to make a “strong protest” about the matter.

The McAreavey and Harte families issued a joint statement yesterday in response to the publication of the pictures.

As the families struggle to come with the result from the trial – this action by the newspaper is not only insensitive to their grief but marks another low in the treatment of John, the two families and the dignity of Michaela.

Yesterday: Govt to make formal complaint over pictures of Michaela crime scene>

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