Belfast Telegraph

Lawyers clash at McAreavey trial

Attempts to explore the sex life of murdered honeymooner Michaela McAreavey and her husband provoked fierce clashes at the trial of two men accused of the crime.

A defence lawyer's bid to question a police officer about a sex guide found in the Mauritius hotel room where the daughter of Gaelic football boss Mickey Harte was strangled was met with fury by the prosecution, with the case adjourned for a period.

Principal state counsel Mehdi Manrakhan reacted angrily when Sanjeev Teeluckdharry, representing accused Avinash Treebhoowoon, asked the officer if the book - The Ultimate Sex Guide - contained material of a violent nature.

"I object in the strongest possible terms," Mr Manrakhan said as legal colleagues slammed papers on the benches in outrage. Mr Teeluckdharry earlier insisted the book went to "the crux of the defence's case".

"We are trying to unveil the truth," said the barrister after Mr Manrakhan's intervention.

Judge Mr Justice Prithviraj Fecknah upheld the objections of the prosecution, telling Mr Teeluckdharry that such questions should not be directed at the witness - police sergeant Govinder Ramasawmy - as he had already told the court he had not examined the book's contents.

Mrs McAreavey's brother Mark Harte looked at the floor as her sister-in-law Claire watched the heated exchanges in a packed and humid courtroom in Port Louis. Her widower John, who has returned to the island for the trial, was unable to attend proceedings as he is due to be called as a prosecution witness.

Legends Hotel employees Treebhoowoon, 30, and Sandip Moneea, 42, deny the premeditated murder of the 27-year-old teacher from Co Tyrone.

Mrs McAreavey was found dead in her hotel room shortly after lunching with her husband by a pool at the hotel last January. The prosecution claims she returned to her room to fetch biscuits for her tea and caught the accused stealing from her room.

The case against Treebhoowoon, from Plaine des Roches, and Moneea, from Petit Raffray, was scheduled to last two weeks but is set to go on for much longer, with Judge Fecknah having warned that a "lengthy trial" was ahead.

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