Editor's Viewpoint: Justice must be done in Mauritius
Published 13/01/2011 | 08:00
There is a temptation to regard policing and the justice system in foreign countries - particularly those in the developing world - as somehow inferior to the standards enjoyed in the UK and Ireland.
This is often due to a mixture of prejudice and ignorance and should be resisted unless there is evidence to the contrary. For that reason we should be careful not to rush to judgment about the police investigations in Mauritius into the tragic killing of Michaela McAreavey.
The murder of a foreign tourist - a young woman on her honeymoon - on an island which depends hugely on tourism for its economic well-being is potentially a massive blow to the reputation of the country. For that reason police will be determined to bring the murder investigation to a speedy conclusion. That is a hope that, of course, will be shared by the McAreavey and Harte families who would find some eventual solace in the conviction and jailing of Michaela's killer or killers.
Claims by one of the three men accused of involvement in her killing that he was beaten by interrogators cast some doubts on the methods of local police. But the investigators have a more powerful weapon in DNA.
Michaela's killers may have left DNA traces on her as she struggled during the attack. Forensic evidence, as always, is the most powerful testimony and local police must ensure they apply all scientific aids to this case.
The investigation into Michaela's death is being carried out against a backdrop of intense international media scrutiny which is a novel experience for the local police, more used to solving much less serious crimes.
Hopefully the spotlight will not dazzle the detectives and they will use all their expertise in building a water-tight case against those responsible. We must allow Mauritian justice to take its course before coming to any conclusions about its effectiveness.