Published Friday, 25 May 2012
The two accused arrive at court for the fourth day of the trial in Mauritius. (© PA)
Prosecutors in the trial of the two men accused of murdering the Co Tyrone woman on her honeymoon last year strongly objected when a defence lawyer repeatedly questioned a police officer about items in their hotel room - including a laptop, mobile phones and a sex guide.
The book was taken from the couple's room, which the defence says provides the crux of their case.
"There were strong objections from the prosecution about relevance - the defence said it was relevant to the crux of their case," UTV's Alison Fleming, who is reporting from Mauritius, explained.
A lawyer for Sandip Moneea also accused Sergeant Ramasawmy of not interviewing employees and guests at the resort including a German couple who, the barrister claimed, were not asked to make statements because they could not speak English.
The exchanges became heated after sergeant Ramasawmy told the court he gave the book to John McAreavey three days after his wife was killed, along with 12 other possessions from their room in the luxury hotel.
This morning's revelations were as uncomfortable to listen to as they were unexpected. There doesn't seem to be an awful lot of consideration given to the fact that there is a grieving family sitting in this court.
UTV's Alison Fleming
Principal state counsel Mehdi Manrakhan reacted angrily when Sanjeev Teeluckdharry, representing accused Avinash Treebhoowoon, asked the officer if the book contained material of a violent nature.
"I object in the strongest possible terms," Mr Manrakhan said.
"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 as he had already told the court he had not examined the book's contents.
As the lawyers clashed, the judge adjourned proceedings for a time.
"The judge reprimanded both defence and prosecution about the exchanges - throughout which Mark Harte, Michaela's brother, sat with his head down," Alison Fleming said.
Michaela's widower John is due to be called as a prosecution witness and was not allowed to attend Friday's proceedings, during which no one under 18 was allowed to be present.
Treebhoowoon, 30, and Moneea, 42, deny murdering the 27-year-old only daughter of Tyrone GAA boss Mickey Harte.
The fourth day of the trial - the most high-profile to ever be held on the island - ended early in the afternoon, with proceedings adjourned until Monday.
The jury of six men and three women are hearing the case in English, despite most Mauritians speaking French Creole as their first tongue, and almost 50 witnesses are listed to give evidence.
Proceedings had been expected to last two weeks, but the judge has now warned a "lengthy" trial is ahead.
© UTV News