Man tried over McAreavey seeks redress
One of the men cleared of murdering Michaela McAreavey is seeking more than €1 million in compensation from the Mauritian authorities, his lawyer said today.
Avinash Treebhoowoon (32) claims his arrest and detention was arbitrary, illegal and that he was relentlessly tortured.
Mr Treebhoowoon’s lawyer, Sanjeev Teeluckdharry said: “This claim has been lodged because of all the prejudice, detention, torture and humiliation my client suffered.”
Mr Teeluckdharry said: “His parents have also suffered humiliation. He was already branded a murderer and has not been re-integrated into employment. He is still jobless.”
Ms McAreavey (27), the daughter of Tyrone GAA manager Mickey Harte, was murdered while on honeymoon at the Legends Hotel resort in Mauritius in January of last year.
Mr Treebhoowoon and a second hotel worker, Sandip Moneea (43) were found not guilty of the murder last July. They were arrested the day after Ms McAreavey was found strangled in a bath by her husband John McAreavey.
Mr Teeluckdharry said papers had been lodged against the Mauritian State and police.
He said since the trial, which was the longest and most high profile in Mauritian history, Mr Treebhoowoon has been shunned by society.
“It is difficult for him (to find a job)” said Mr Teeluckdharry. “He has been trying his luck everywhere but everybody knows about him. Even though his name has been cleared they are unwilling to take him into employment - especially tourist resorts.”
The legal papers claim Mr Treebhoowoon’s arrest was not based on reasonable suspicion. They say the prosecuting authorities rubber stamped the police investigation even though the island’s major crime investigation team had failed to carry out a basic inquiry.
“They just wanted a scapegoat,” added Mr Teeluckdharry. “They have tortured him and deprived him of his rights as a suspect. Furthermore they detained him for 18 months and consistently objected to his release on bail.”
The documents suggest police misled the public into believing there was DNA evidence and CCTV footage linking Treebhoowoon to the crime scene and that the
Mauritian police disturbed the scene during reconstruction exercises.
Last month it was emerged that Ms McAreavey’s family were to sue a Mauritian newspaper which printed photographs of her dead body.
They said any damages would be donated to the Michaela Foundation - a charity which was set up in honour of the schoolteacher.
Mr Teeluckdharry said the McAreaveys should also launch legal proceedings against the Mauritian authorities.