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Trials of Michaela accused could be delayed until next year

Defence lawyers say the judge overseeing the trial cannot give them a fair hearing – and want a judicial review.

Sandip Moneea, one of the two suspects in the murder of Michaela McAreavey, is escorted to court earlier this week.
Sandip Moneea, one of the two suspects in the murder of Michaela McAreavey, is escorted to court earlier this week.
Image: George Michel/AP

THE TRIAL OF the two men charged with murdering Tyrone schoolteacher Michaela McAreavey in Mauritius in January may be put back until next year, it has emerged.

Lawyers for Avinash Treebhoowon and Sandip Moneea claim that the magistrate overseeing the preliminary hearings in Port Louis cannot give them a fair hearing.

While the magistrate says she rejects this claim, the counsel for the defendants has applied for a judicial review – which, if granted, could see a full trial postponed until next year.

Irisih Independent journalist Eimear Ní Bhronáin told RTÉ’s Drivetime that question marks also remained over whether John McAreavey, Michaela’s widower, would be forced to travel to the island for questioning.

The defence wants to have McAreavey attend as a witness, and yesterday submitted a list of questions they wished to ask him – but the magistrate says his appearance is not necessary at a preliminary hearing.

UTV News said a decision on whether to grant a judicial review would be made on Monday.

Yesterday Mauritian police explained that a plastic bag was not used in Michaela’s murder, clarifying that forensic experts would have placed a bag over her head to preserve any evidence.

The daughter of Tyrone gaelic football boss Mickey Harte, Irish teacher Michaela died while honeymooning with John at the Legends Hotel in Mauritius – less than two weeks after they married.

Michaela witness says he’s sorry he didn’t save her >

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Gavan Reilly

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