Belfast Telegraph

Father 'lying to save Michaela accused'

The father of one of the men on trial for murdering honeymooner Michaela McAreavey in Mauritius has been accused of lying in the witness box to save his son.

A prosecutor challenged Sooriedeo Treebhoowoon that he made up a claim that his son Avinash told him he was being beaten by police shortly after he signed a statement in which he admitted involvement in the crime.

The defendant has insisted the admission was extracted by police brutality.

State lawyer Mehdi Manrakhan told the 52-year-old labourer that the claim he outlined to court about his conversation with his son in a police station had not been mentioned once by his son's lawyer or even the accused himself when he gave evidence.

"I am telling you you are a witness who came to court to save your son," said Mr Manrakhan. "You can even lie to save your son."

Mr Treebhoowoon denied lying for his son. "No, why would I lie?" he said.

Treebhoowoon, 32, and co-accused Sandip Moneea, 42, deny murdering the daughter of Tyrone Gaelic football boss Mickey Harte in the Legends Hotel on the island last January.

Both worked at the luxury resort at the time and the prosecution claims they attacked Mrs McAreavey when she caught them stealing in her room.

The 28th day of the much delayed trial began with judge Prithviraj Fecknah telling the jurors to ignore questions he had posed to defendant Treebhoowoon last week while he was being cross-examined by Mr Manrakhan. He said he was giving them that direction because a "technical" legal issue had arisen.

Mrs McAreavey's widower, John, and other family members watched proceedings at the Supreme Court in Port Louis from the public gallery.

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