Hotel workers arrested by police investigating Michaela Harte murder released on bail

Two men deny conspiring with each other to steal access card on day Tyrone teacher was strangled

Two former hotel workers arrested on theft charges by police investigating the murder of Michaela Harte McAreavey have been released on bail and their legal teams will apply for the charges to be struck out.

Dassen Narayanen (37) was released on a cash surety of Rs4000 (€84) on Thursday, following the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in Mauritius.

All grounds of objection have been waived, but he had to pay an additional amount of Rs1150 (€24) for court costs.

The former security guard of the hotel where Ms Harte McAreavey was staying on honeymoon in January 2011, following her marriage to John McAreavey, was charged with conspiracy to commit larceny in the McAreaveys’ hotel room, 10 years after the same charge was struck out in court.

The prosecution has asked for further time with respect to the striking out motion. A date has been fixed for June 28th.

Former hotel worker Sandip Moonea (52) , who was arrested on Tuesday, was also released following the decision of the DPP on Thursday.

He was initially expected to appear in court on April 28th after his bail motion was denied following an objection made by the police this week.

He was charged with the same offence and police said that his arrest followed the statement made by Dassen Narayanen to them. In 2012, Sandip Moonea was one of the two persons acquitted by the court for the murder of the Irish honeymooner.

Lawyer for Dassen Narayanen, Vikash Teeluckdharry, insisted the statement of his client was taken in his absence and in an unconstitutional way. He said his client plans to take further action against the police and the handling of the overall investigation.

Rama Valayden, Sandip Moonea’s lawyer, and his colleagues will also decide on further legal actions.

He said that, according to the section 10 of the constitution of Mauritius, someone acquitted in a murder case cannot be arrested again by the police unless a special request is made in a court of law and insisted this procedure was not followed in this case.

Several members of the bar association of Mauritius have also raised concerns about the arrest of Dassen Narayanen and Sandip Moonea.

Ravi Rutnah, another lawyer in the case, spoke at a press conference following the release of the two former hotel workers on Thursday.

He said there was an ongoing constitutional crisis in Mauritius because of the way the police conducted themselves in the past few weeks.

Meanwhile, Sandip Moonea’s wife, Rekha Moonea, also voiced her concerns following the arrest of her husband. She said she wanted the real culprit or culprits to be found so that her husband could move on with his life.

Dassen Narayanen and Sandip Moonea are accused of conspiring with each other to steal Ms Harte McAreavey’s magnetic access card on January 10th, 2011. The teacher was strangled in her room on that day. They have both vehemently denied these accusations.

Police have confirmed to the press in Mauritius that there are no new elements to the case. However, a new team, known as the Major Crime Investigation Team (MCIT), has been given responsibility for examining the original statements made in January 2011.

A new enquiry was initiated after several appeals made by Mr McAreavey and the family of Ms Harte McAreavey.