McAreavey seeks to correct date given in evidence
JOHN McAREAVEY may return to the witness box at the trial of two men accused of murdering his wife, Michaela, after he indicated he wanted to correct part of the evidence he gave earlier this week.
Prosecution counsel Mehdi Manrakhan said he would consider putting a motion to have Mr McAreavey return to the stand to amend a statement given in court on Wednesday. Defence lawyers said they would object to any such attempt.
During his 3½ hours on the stand, the 27-year-old accountant said that on the evening of January 9th last year, the day before his wife was killed, he had returned to their hotel room to fetch biscuits for her.
He was challenged by defence lawyer Rama Valayden, who said keycard readings for the couple’s room did not tally with his account.
In court yesterday, Mr McAreavey’s lawyer Dick Ng Sui Wa said his client wanted to inform the court that he had made a mistake and given the wrong date. The incident actually happened a day earlier, on January 8th, he said.
Mr Manrakhan said he would consider the statement from the Irishman’s lawyer before deciding whether to proceed with a motion to have the new information included as formal evidence. His decision is expected this morning.
Ms McAreavey, the daughter of Tyrone football manager Mickey Harte, was killed while on honeymoon in Mauritius last year. The prosecution says she was murdered by hotel workers Sandip Moneea and Avinash Treebhoowoon when she returned to the room to collect a chocolate bar and found them stealing. Both men have pleaded not guilty.
On the 13th day of the trial, the court heard from the head of security at Legends Hotel, who said the key card that opened room 1025 shortly before Ms McAreavey is said to have gone in was a “dummy” that had not been officially authorised.
Mohammad Mehtaz Imrit later confirmed that an early suspect in the case – Legends security guard Dassen Naraynen – was spotted on CCTV walking on a wall close to room 1025 on the day of the killing and was not supposed to be there.
Mr Imrit said Naraynen had been posted elsewhere that morning but had asked to change his position to one closer to the de-luxe block where the McAreaveys were staying.
The head of security then revealed that Mr Naraynen asked for sick leave two days after the killing after turning up with a plaster on his leg, claiming he was incapacitated.
Mr Valayden asked whether it was true that he was spotted shortly afterwards walking around a supermarket. “I don’t know,” replied the witness.
Naraynen faces a provisional charge of conspiracy to commit larceny in connection with the McAreavey case. He denies any involvement.
The court also heard from a hotel cleaner, Govinden Samynaden, who broke down on the stand after claiming police forced him to sign a witness statement.
However, Mr Samynaden was then accused by the prosecution of lying to the court about the whereabouts of his long-standing colleague Mr Moneea at the time of the killing.
Mr Samynaden told the court that before 2.55pm on January 10th – around the time of the killing – Mr Moneea was in his company.
But Mr Manrakhan, re-examining the witness, disputed this and referred to earlier evidence showing that Mr Moneea’s keycard placed him at room 1020 at 2.28pm.
“How could Sandip Moneea be with you if he was at room 1020 at 2.28pm?” he asked.
“I don’t remember,” Mr Samynaden responded.
Mr Manrakhan accused him of not telling the truth.
“I am telling the truth,” the witness insisted.