Mauritius inquiry methods criticised
THE DEFENCE counsel representing one of two men cleared of the murder of Michaela McAreavey has said the men had had their rights “trampled on” by police investigating the crime.
Rama Valayden, who represented Sandeep Moneea, was speaking at a press conference in Mauritius yesterday along with Sanjeev Teeluckdharry, who represented Avinash Treebhoowoon in the murder trial.
Former hotel workers Mr Treebhoowoon (32) and Mr Moneea (43) were unanimously acquitted last week of the murder of Ms McAreavey, who was strangled while on honeymoon in Mauritius in January last year.
Mr Valayden and Mr Teeluckdharry attacked the way the major crime investigation team (MCIT) had carried out the investigation, claiming that they were unprofessional and used obsolete tactics because they had based their case solely on the confession of Mr Treebhoowoon. Mr Valayden said the MCIT had ignored about 40 aspects of criminal investigation including forensic aspects and did not interview key witnesses. He said DNA profiles were not properly investigated. “The MCIT is the biggest disgrace in this country,” he said.
Mr Valayden talked about his “friends” the Irish and how he was close to Sinn Féin and he participated in many of their activities to the point that his house had been raided by the secret police.
Referring to the prime minister’s suggestion to have a team of experts from Ireland help with an inquiry, Mr Valayden said: “Do you think foreign experts will come and be involved in an inquiry when they know how sloppy we have been with the investigation?”
The prime minister, Dr Navinchandra Ramgoolam, said he would invite officers from the PSNI and the Garda to assist police still involved in the inquiry into the murder of Ms McAreavey.
Mr Valayden welcomed a “true inquiry with no one from the MCIT in it, headed by someone as sharp as former judge Robert Ahnee”. When asked if that meant he was happy for his clients to be investigated again, he replied they could not be tried twice under law.
Referring to the photos published in the Mauritius Sunday Times which were, according to the prime minister, leaked by a “defence lawyer”, Mr Valayden said: “Without inquiry, ‘we’ point the accusing finger at the defence lawyer?” The lawyers concluded by saying the state should have offered compensation and they are not ruling out pressing for it.
Detectives were last night questioning the editor of the newspaper that published photographs of Ms McAreavey’s body. Imran Hosany, the editor and director of the Mauritius Sunday Times, was detained at his home in Port Louis and taken to Line Barracks police headquarters.