Northern Ireland

Michaela McAreavey trial papers to be examined by NI legal head

Northern Ireland's attorney general is to examine papers from the Michaela McAreavey murder trial, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has said.

He was speaking after discussing the trial with acting Mauritian High Commissioner Mohammed Iqbal Latona.

"I'm told there is every prospect that there could be a new trial," he said.

A jury cleared two former hotel workers last week of murdering the 27-year-old from County Tyrone in her honeymoon suite on the island in January 2011.

Mr Latona said they were looking forward to starting the murder investigation "afresh", with the help of the PSNI, gardai and Scotland Yard.

Mr McGuinness said the meeting in London on Thursday was an opportunity for him "to express the very strong feelings throughout the island of Ireland as to how the murder investigation and trial was conducted".

"There is a very strong view that the McAreavey and Harte families have been very badly treated by the Mauritian justice authorities," he said.

"During the course of our meeting, there was a very strong emphasis by Mauritian representatives that the government feel very strongly about this, that there was unanimous support in the Mauritian parliament and that they are very determined to ensure those responsible are brought to justice."

Michaela and John McAreavey
Michaela and John McAreavey pictured on their honeymoon in Mauritius

He added: "It's absolutely vital that the Mauritius government's participation and involvement in this can only be in the context of a new trial.

"We can't have a situation where people are just going to examine papers then walk away."

Mrs McAreavey was killed in her room at the Legends hotel in Mauritius while on her honeymoon.

Former hotel workers Sandip Moneea and Avinash Treebhoowoon were cleared last Thursday of Mrs McAreavey's killing by a jury at the Supreme Court in Port Louis.

Mr Latona said his discussions with Mr McGuinness had been "very positive".

"We had a frank discussion where he expressed their sentiments, which we fully understand and are legitimate," he said.

"We explained to them that the government of Mauritius will take all necessary action to bring the perpetrators to justice."

He said the issue of any fresh trial was a decision for the Mauritian legal system.

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