Defense lawyers in a Mauritius murder trial have focused on the sex life of strangled Irish bride Michaela Harte McAreavey to the fury of the prosecution.
Harte, daughter of Tyrone football legend and manager Mickey Harte, was strangled in her hotel room on the honeymoon island in January 2011 allegedly by two hotel employees she interrupted during a robbery.
Principal state counsel Mehdi Manrakhan reacted angrily when Sanjeev Teeluckdharry, representing accused Avinash Treebhoowoon, asked a police officer if a book found in the room called “The Ultimate Sex Guide” contained material of a violent nature.
He also asked if contents of a laptop found in the room had been examined and if two iPhones had been checked out.
The clear strategy according to legal experts is to somehow muddy the reputation of the young woman.
"I object in the strongest possible terms," prosecution lawyer Mehdi Manrakhan said as some of his legal colleagues slammed papers on the benches in outrage after the defense line of questioning became evident.
The prosecution case is that Michaela was strangled in panic by two hotel employees, Mr Treebhoowoon (30) and Sandeep Moneea (42), after she had unexpectedly returned to her room and found them stealing. The two men deny the charges.
Judge Prithviraj Fecknah upheld the objection to the line of questioning by the defense and demanded they stop.
The defense continued to probe a key witness, Sgt Govinder Ramasawmy, who was the lead investigator at the murder scene.
They accused Sgt Ramasawmy of not interviewing a number of key witnesses including a German couple who were let go because they spoke no English.
“Officer, you did not do anything in that inquiry. In fact you participated in bungling that inquiry,” a defense lawyer asked.
Sgt Ramasawmy refuted the allegation.
“No, my lord,” he said.
McAreavey (27), had returned to the room to fetch some cookies while her husband, John, waited downstairs. When she did not appear, he went to her room and found her strangled in the bathtub. The accused face up to 60 years in jail if found guilty.
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