Northern Ireland

Sex guide 'crux of Michaela McAreavey trial defence'

There were angry scenes at the Michaela McAreavey murder trial in Mauritius as a row erupted over a sex guide.

The case had to be adjourned for a short time on Friday after heated exchanges between lawyers.

A defence lawyer tried repeatedly to focus on the content of a sex guide found in the McAreaveys' room and whether the police had read it.

Hotel workers Avinash Treebhoowoon, 30, and Sandip Moneea, 42, both deny murdering Mrs McAreavey.

The 27-year-old teacher was found dead in her hotel room during the couple's honeymoon in January 2011. She was the daughter of Tyrone gaelic football manager Mickey Harte.

At the trial in Mauritius on Friday, a defence barrister questioned a police officer who had removed a number of items from John McAreavey which included the couple's smart phones, a laptop and a book - a guide relating to sexual matters.

The barrister robustly questioned the officer about the contents of the book. A prosecuting lawyer strongly objected, banging files on the desk in protest.

When challenged as to why they were going along with this line of inquiry, the defence lawyer claimed the guide went to "the crux of the defence case".


Earlier, the court heard that two days after her death, Michaela McAreavey's husband, John, had to return to their hotel room to be photographed by the police.

The details emerged as the sergeant in charge of the police photographer who catalogued the murder scene was cross-examined at Mauritius Supreme Court.

He said John McAreavey was pictured pointing at the bath where he had found his wife and at the floor where he had laid her body to try to revive her.

During his cross-examination, the police sergeant told the court that he had accompanied Mr McAreavey to the murder scene for a photo reconstruction on 12 January 2011.

There was sniggering in the public gallery when the officer mistakenly said bath tube instead of bath tub.

Image caption Michaela McAreavey was murdered in Mauritius on her honeymoon last year

On Thursday, there was loud laughter in the court from members of the public, police officers, law students and a number of jurors in response to the flamboyant style of questioning from defence barrister Ravi Rutnah.

BBC reporter Natasha Sayee said members of the Harte and McAreavey families appeared visibly distressed by the atmosphere in court.

John McAreavey is not allowed to attend the proceedings because he is being called as a prosecution witness, but his sister Claire and Michaela's brother Mark Harte were in the public gallery.

The case has been adjourned and is due to resume in Mauritius on Monday.

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