Belfast Telegraph

Michaela McAreavey murder trial defence brief arrested by police in Mauritius

Luke Byrne

One of the defence lawyers in the Michaela McAreavey murder trial has been arrested by police in Mauritius for trying to influence the jury, it can be revealed.

Ravi Rutnah served as defence counsel for Avinash Treebhoowon, who was acquitted, but withdrew from the murder case in May 2012.

It is understood that police have been questioning Mr Rutnah on suspicion of creating public mischief and conspiring to influence the jury.

It is understood that the questioning centres on a DVD, containing video footage of a German couple arguing at the reception of Legends Hotel on the day that Co Tyrone woman Mrs McAreavey was killed, which Mr Rutnah presented to police.

At the time it was suggested that the couple in the video could be Michaela and her husband John – but that was quickly shown not to be the case.

Treebhoowon (30) and Sandip Moonea (42), both former employees of the hotel, were cleared of her murder.

Now it has emerged that Mr Rutnah's house was raided yesterday by officers from the police's Central Investigation Division (CID).

He was released last night but has been instructed to return to the central barracks this morning for further questioning, Sanjeev Teeluckdharry, Mr Rutnah's fellow defence lawyer in the murder case, said. He added: "We think he may be charged tomorrow morning (Friday)," said Mr Teeluckdharry.

Mr Teeluckdharry said: "Mr Rutnah presented the video, which had been given to him by an independent party, to the police because he thought it might contain important material evidence.

"The defence team will not be intimidated. We are lions of the jungle and we will not be made lions of the circus," he added.

BACKGROUND

The only daughter of Tyrone All-Ireland winning GAA manager Mickey Harte, Michaela McAreavey (27), was killed on January 10, 2011, in hotel room 1025 at Legends Hotel during her honeymoon.

In a controversial trial, two hotel workers were tried and declared not guilty in July 2012.

To date, nobody has been found guilty of the murder.

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