Michaela trial begins amid chaotic scenes

Published Tuesday, 22 May 2012
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The trial of two men accused of the murder of Michaela McAreavey has started following chaotic scenes outside Mauritius Supreme Court.

Michaela trial begins amid chaotic scenes
Avinash Treebhoowoon, 30, (centre) arrives at the courtroom. (© PA)

Her widower, John McAreavey, had to battle through unruly crowds on Tuesday morning as police struggled to control the flow of people into the courthouse.

The accused, Avinash Treebhoowoon and Sandip Moneea, were also jostled as they were led into the dock of Courtroom 5, with dozens of people cramming into every space inside.

A jury of six men and three women has now been picked for the trial.

The process took just over an hour before the jurors then retired to select a foreman.

Michaela, aged 27, was found strangled in her luxury hotel room in Mauritius in January last year, just two weeks after her wedding.

At the time, police said she had interrupted a burglary.

Treebhoowoon, who is 30 and from Plaine des Roches, and 42-year-old Moneea, from Petit Raffray, deny premeditated murder.

John McAreavey arrived on the island on Friday with his father and sister, and brother-in-law Mark Harte.

The courtroom is packed to capacity - it's a tiny court and very old fashioned and there are close to 200 people packed into it in sweltering heat.

UTV Reporter Alison Fleming

He sat in court for a short period but was then was asked to leave, as he is one of around 30 witnesses expected to give evidence.

In a statement, the Hartes and McAreaveys said: "This is a very distressing time for both our families and the days ahead will be very difficult for us.

"We hope that the media will understand that we are anxious that nothing will be said or done that will compromise or prejudice the due process during the trial.

"We want to make it clear that we will not be making any statements before the end of the trial."

The case against hotel room attendant Treebhoowoon, and floor supervisor Moneea is taking place in the Supreme Court building in the capital city, Port Louis.

Security has been ramped up around the old French colonial court building for what will be one the most high-profile criminal cases ever held on the island.

UTV's Alison Fleming, who is reporting from Mauritius, described how the trial began amid unruly scenes as the defendants and family arrived at court.

"The trial of the two men started this morning and there were scenes of absolute chaos at the Supreme Court in the centre of the island's capital," she explained.

"John McAreavey accompanied by his father Brendan, sister Claire and Michaela's brother Mark had to run the gauntlet of onlookers with little or no protection.

"It was the same route up the steps to the court as the two defendants, who arrived separately."

Mrs McAreavey, from Ballygawley, was the only daughter of GAA Co Tyrone boss Mickey Harte.

Her Requiem Mass was held close to her family home, at St Malachy's Chapel in Ballymacilroy - the church where she was married a fortnight before her death.

The trial is expected to last two weeks.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
7 Comments
peter in portadown wrote (792 days ago):
Could Alison Fleming put her hands in her pockets during her news reports and stop talking with her hands, making me dizzy watching her.
David Smith in Armagh wrote (792 days ago):
Why are 2 PSNI officers over there? Some time of it! Bet there was hot competition for that little gig ;)
Eileen in Fermanagh wrote (792 days ago):
It doesnt matter what Alison Fleming calls Port Louis, this is irrelevant and the least of the Harte and McAreaveys worries. That justice is done in the name of Michaela is their main concern right now, not what a place is called. This is not important, what is important is that this trial is over very soon and that the person or persons who committed this terrible crime on an innocent defenceless girl and robbed the Harte family of a beautiful daughter and John McAreavey of his wife, are given the sentence they deserve. A life for a life.
john in Co.armagh wrote (793 days ago):
Wether these two guys are guilty or not is a relevant, watching the hype put on by UTV among others how can these two defendants get a fair trial more like trial by the medai.
Dublin in Dublin wrote (794 days ago):
Where is my comment utv?
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