Michaela McAreavey Murder Trial

 Posted by on May 28, 2012  Add comments
May 282012
 

Like everyone else, I was horrified by the reports of the Michaela McAreavey murder in Mauritius, and I was also horrified by the line of questioning adopted by the defence team, but at the same time, there are other things to take into account.  Mauritius is a tiny country with a very low crime rate and when a high-profile crime happens, the authorities are very unlikely to handle it properly.  They have no experience of investigating such a killing, they have no experience of preserving a crime scene and they have little experience of preserving the chain of evidence.

The likelihood is that they’re going to make a complete mess of it, but we in Ireland are in no position to point the finger.  We in Ireland are no strangers to this sort of screw-up: all you have to do is look at the Kerry Babies disaster to see the same sort of bumbling incompetence from a police force faced with events it has no grasp of.

It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if the Mauritian police beat the lard out of the two suspects, as hinted at yesterday when the police witness failed to account for 90 minutes of a suspect’s detention.  The murder of a Western visitor is huge news,  potentially spelling the end of the Mauritian tourism industry, and is therefore something that commands the attention of government at the highest level.  I don’t think anyone could doubt that politicians were on the phone immediately demanding results from some hapless police chief.  Can there be the slightest possibility that the local cops were not determined to catch somebody — anybody?

I think they possibly beat the living hell out of their two suspects, who may or may not be guilty.  I also know that the job of a defence attorney is to defend his client no matter what, and to expose any gap in the prosecution case.  Therefore, despite my revulsion at the attempt to introduce a salacious, prurient dimension, I can see where they’re going.  The Mauritian legal structure is strongly related to Common Law on which our system is based,  it is independent and it’s also impartial.  Any defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence, and can only be convicted if the evidence shows his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.  Consequently, if the defence can show that there’s an alternative reading of events, they have demonstrated that the case against their client is not proven beyond reasonable doubt.

Advocacy is a nasty business and not something most of us would be any good at.  I was involved in a small court case recently, which I’m glad to say I won, and when the opposing lawyer suggested that I wasn’t being truthful, I took it very personally.  I know I’m a truthful person and I can’t understand the idea that anyone would give evidence that  is less than honest, yet, all my lawyer friends laughed at me when I complained about the opposing line of questioning.  This is normal.  You have to smear the opposition.

The fact that the Mauritian lawyer is talking about a “sex book”, which turns out simply to be a women’s magazine, says much about the cultural divide between us and them, and yes, it does make the Mauritians look ridiculous, but at the same time, he’s doing his professional best for his clients even if everyone else finds his line of questioning ludicrous.

It’s a dirty, horrible business, but at the same time, if you or I were accused of a crime, we’d be very grateful to have some legal thug have a go at the prosecution and pick every possible hole in their case.

Especially if you or I were innocent, as these two men might well be.

  17 Responses to “Michaela McAreavey Murder Trial”

Comments (17)
  1.  

    It’s one thing accusing you of being a liar, which would be relevant to your case.. it’s another to try to slur a person’s reputation with irrelevancies.

    ” Therefore, despite my revulsion at the attempt to introduce a salacious, prurient dimension, I can see where they’re going”

    Where do you think they are going Bock? You don’t really explain.
    Do you think they are trying to infer she was a slut maybe?

    Do you think that kind of insinuation is relevant and should even be entertained in a court of law?

  2.  

    I’m not trying to defend their actions so please don’t hint that I am.

  3.  

    I know Bock… you said despite your revulsion.
    What I’m asking is in terms of you saying you can see where they’re going with the salacious and prurient line of questioning..

    I’m sorry, but I haven’t a bull’s notion of how it’s relevant.
    I mean the book turned out to be a supplement of a woman’s magazine.. but what if it was a sex book that was bought solely on it’s own?
    What if there were sex toys?
    What if there was lingerie?
    I’d imagine most sexually active women would have those items.
    Why is it relevant to the murder of Michaela?

    If the purpose of that type of question is just to “smear the opposition”, it’s fucking horrible.
    How in the name of jesus is being a woman who’s interested in sex a smear? Thank fuck she was married, that’s all I’ll say.

    And another thing, RE; “which turns out simply to be a women’s magazine, says much about the cultural divide between us and them, and yes, it does make the Mauritians look ridiculous,”

    There are ridiculous twirps in this country who are petrified of women who express their sexuality, desires etc. Absolutely petrified for some pathetic little reason.
    I don’t think the cultural divide is that wide.

    I’ve probably been a bit naive at times, but I geniunely can’t get how pathetic some are, that a woman expressing her sexuality is something that is used to smear any woman. The fact that this woman was murdered and they are trying to smear her in this way, is absolutely vile.

  4.  

    Edited the above comment there slightly.. sorry.

    Thanks.

  5.  

    My point is simple. A defence lawyer will exploit every possible opportunity to cast doubt on the prosecution’s case. To expect he’d do otherwise would be naive. I hope the judge in the case puts a stop to that particular line of questioning

  6.  

    As a law grad., I suggest that the defense is show boating. He appears to be using this as his “OJ” moment and the fact the media in both UK and here covering this provides a temptation to do this. The defence mentioned that he was there to prove his clients innocence. Well, I am worried about his legal training.
    1. It is not and ever has been the job to prove innocence.
    2. That presumption already exists.
    3. His or her job is to question the evidence.

  7.  

    I’m not familiar with the intricacies of Mauritian law. It appears to have elements of Common Law and also the Napoleonic Code. Are you certain that it’s not his job to prove innocence? And are you also certain under Mauritian law that there is a presumption of innocence? I don’t have those answers.

  8.  

    My understanding is that the Civil law part is based on the Napoleonic Code,the fact that a sentence can be appealed to the Privy Council in the UK would suggest that it is the Common Law in criminal matters. I see they have the Offences against the person Act 1861, which we still have here. So that would indicate further the Common law element. So even if the trial was under the Code the right of innocence is presumed, to quote François Quintard-Morénas a French lawyer and legal writer:

    “Everyone has the right to respect of the presumption of innocence” proclaims the French Civil Code. It follows that one cannot be publicly described as guilty before conviction, a principle recognized by the Parlement of Paris as early as the 16th century in a ruling making it illegal to describe suspects as murderers, adulterers or thieves in arrest warrants. French law also recognizes the right not to be handcuffed upon arrest and prohibits showing a suspect in handcuffs.

    Just to add, Padraig O’Ceidigh, the founder of Aer Arann and a qualifed Solictor tried a few years ago to get Law as a subject for the Leaving Cert, it was turned down by the Department of Education. In the UK it is an A level subject.

  9.  

    What I want to know is how those defendants got their hands on such a good defence lawyer. They didn’t strike me as being able to afford one from the initial reports.

  10.  

    I love the way you say that the ignorant savages over there have no idea about crime scene preservation, pressure to solve tourist crime, fair trials. Oh how we love a romantic murder mystery. Seriously the condencesion couldn’t have been laid on thicker, but then again who is going to read this has been touched by the crime. Flair away Bock sure whats the worst that can happen.
    Wikipedia has a lot to answer for all the same!

  11.  

    Where did you notice me calling them ignorant savages? And while we’re at it, where did you notice me saying our police were any better?

  12.  

    It is a bad time for the family out there having to put up with all the theatrics now taking centre stage.
    A point; in questioning a witnesses written statement, the councillor seeks to cause the witness to admit to an alternative aspect, like agreeing a slight alteration in the wording, unwittingly discrediting their entire statement.
    This is what the defence councillor seems to be doing in this case, utilising offensively overt dramatics designed to put witnesses under great stress which can result in the ‘fuck-up’ factor kicking in.
    I think the councillor got it wrong this time. He may have to reconfigure his strategy.

  13.  

    The case has been adjourned. Defence Counsels are now in possession of CCTV footage showing the couple arguing at the reception desk. Few minutes later they left for their room. 15 mins after, only the man came back, his shorts changed and he could not walk properly. BBC IRELAND did not report this fact, only gave a vague reason as to why the case was adjourned!

  14.  

    The couple in the video were identified by a police officer as a German couple who stayed in the hotel. He named them. The family have said the video is not of Michaela. The court was adjourned as the judge said, so that the lawyers could have a chance to cool their tempers.

    It’s interesting that you try to distort what actually happened, given that your IP address is in Mauritius.

  15.  

    I think the husband and family of the murder victim Michaela are being subjected to a humiliating and unjustified experience at this trial.

  16.  

    The German couple in the video have now come forward to confirm their identity. That makes the comment from Mauritius highly suspect. Who would have a reason to post a false account of the trial on this site? What would that reason be?

  17.  

    The man’s name is Harald Hoyer. Report here.

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