This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 4 °C Tuesday 12 November, 2019
Advertisement

Michaela McAreavey: New trial "a possibility"

The Director of Public Prosecutions in Mauritius said he was surprised at the verdict and that he was not discarding the possibility of a new trial.

Avinash Treebhoowoon (white shirt) outside the Supreme Court in Port Louis, Mauritius, after he was acquitted of murdering honeymooner Michaela McAreavey.
Avinash Treebhoowoon (white shirt) outside the Supreme Court in Port Louis, Mauritius, after he was acquitted of murdering honeymooner Michaela McAreavey.
Image: Jamirouddin Yeadally/PA Wire/Press Association Images

THE DIRECTOR OF Public Prosecutions in Mauritius, Satyajit Boolell, has said he is not discarding the possibility of a new trial over the murder of Michaela McAreavey.

Avinash Treebhoowon, 31, and Sandeep Moonea, 42, were found not guilty following an eight-week trial for McAreavey’s murder in Mauritius last year.

Speaking to Claire Byrne on RTÉ radio this morning, Boolell said:

I must first of all say that I am surprised to say the least at the verdict reached in this case. From the prosecution point of view, knowing the evidence that we presented before the court I can only say that the verdict of the jury was most unexpected.

Forensic evidence

When asked about the lack of forensic evidence, Boolell said that the case for the prosecution “clearly indicated the chance of securing a conviction were indeed high”.

He said there was a confession from one of the suspects which was recorded in the presence of his barrister.

You say there was no forensic evidence but it was supported by the report of a forensic doctor who had conducted a post-mortem exam and identified the injuries on the body of the deceased which corresponds with what was mentioned in that statement.

“I must say that this decision to prosecute was not taken lightly and before we went to in court we had a preliminary inquiry,” said Boolell.

Police

Boolell said that the allegations of police brutality were “the kind of thing that had influenced the mind of the jury as regards to the voluntariness of that confession [from one of the accused]“.

He added that in the case that went before the judge, “there was absolutely nothing to substantiate the allegations that were made towards the police”.

Byrne asked Boolell about the allegations that the crime scene was trampled on and disturbed.

While saying “let us not exaggerate what was made in court”, Boolell said:

The crime scene was totally preserved and shielded but you must also understand that at the time the crime was committed there was a rush in that room by many persons, the doctor of the hotel, the manager of the hotel, the husband of the victim.

He said that “many people rushed into the room to ascertain what happened” and this caused the scene of the crime to be contaminated.

I must point out that the body of Michaela Harte was placed in a bathtub over which water was flowing. All the potential traces of forensic evidence were totally diluted and removed by water.

Stark reality

Boolell said this is not the end for the investigation:

We will not let things as they are because we are faced with the stark reality of a murder being committed and no one being accountable for it so far. This is a grave concern for me and for my office.

He said they had “already hinted for the investigation to be reopened” and for further investigation to be carried out, and that lessons need to be drawn from what they have learned so far.

Boolell said that the authorities must record the taking of statements and interrogation. He said that this “would dispel a lot of doubt about the circumstances in which they are recorded”.

Reputation

Regarding the assertion that the police had rushed to charge and convict these men to protect the reputation of Mauritius, he described it as “utter nonsense”.

He said they have a duty in their constitution to try a case within a reasonable time, and they tried to ensure this, and they had “ample evidence” to justify the position” they took to put the case before the courts.

Though he said the men cannot be tried again, the issue of double jeopardy “seems to be on a finality”.

If we have new evidence which did not arise before, I am not completely discarding the possibility of a new trial.

Boolell has told the BBC that there will be a ‘fact-finding’ commission into the case.

Michaela’s widower, John McAreavey, and the other family members who were in Mauritius for the trial are due to return home today.

Read: Michaela McAreavey trial: Accused may sue police>

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

Read next:

COMMENTS (22)