Belfast Telegraph

Defence slams McAreavey case police

Police investigating the murder of Michaela McAreavey have diced with justice and risked the reputation of Mauritius by accusing a man who could not have physically committed the crime, his trial has been warned.

A lawyer for Sandip Moneea claimed evidence would show that he was on a four-minute phone call to his sister at the time the prosecution contends the Co Tyrone honeymooner was strangled in her hotel room on the island.

In a 90-minute statement to open his case, Rama Valayden said he was angry because those really responsible for the "despicable murder" were walking free while an innocent man sat in the dock.

In a speech laden with historical references, quoting among others Martin Luther King and French philosopher Voltaire, the barrister was withering in his assessment of the police investigation, particularly the officers from the major crime investigation team (MCIT).

"They are putting the state of Mauritius in a dangerous situation," he said.

"They are dicing with the reputation of this country, with the reputation of police in this country and they are dicing with justice."

Previewing the evidence he would present to the jury at the Supreme Court in Port Louis, Mr Valayden said phone records would prove Moneea was calling his sister at 2.45pm on January 10 last year - the time he and co-defendant Avinash Treebhoowoon are accused of attacking the daughter of Tyrone gaelic football manager Mickey Harte.

"Killing at one time and phoning at the same time?" the lawyer asked the nine jurors.

"No one can do that."

Former room attendant at the exclusive hotel Treebhoowoon, 32, from Plaine des Roches, and ex-floor supervisor Moneea, 42, from Petit Raffray, deny any involvement in the 27-year-old teacher's death

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