By David Young, PA
Police in Mauritius have denied mistreating a man charged with theft by detectives investigating the murder of honeymooner Michaela McAreavey.
Dassen Narayanen, a former security guard at the Legends Hotel where the Co Tyrone teacher was killed while on honeymoon in 2011, was brought before a district magistrate on Wednesday on a count of conspiracy to commit larceny.
Narayanen, 37, from Royal Road, Plaine des Papayes on the Indian Ocean island, was remanded in custody charged with conspiring with another hotel employee to steal a magnetic key card to the room then occupied by Mrs McAreavey and her husband John to commit larceny.
His lawyer has expressed concern about the conditions he is being held under in a police station.
Vikash Teeluckdharry has described the case against his client as “nonsense” and said he denies any wrongdoing.
On Thursday, he claimed that in custody Narayanen had been denied access to medication that he has been taking for mental health issues for several years.
The barrister further alleged that the accused had not been provided with a change of clothes since his initial arrest on Tuesday.
Mr Teeluckdharry said the accused was being held at a police station in the south of Mauritius despite his family being from the north of the island.
The lawyer said his family did not have the money to pay for a journey on public transport which he claimed would take three hours to complete.
On Friday, a spokesman for the Mauritius Police Force told the PA news agency that all Narayanen’s rights were being respected. He highlighted that the accused had been taken to hospital for treatment on the day of his arrest.
“Please note that on the very day of his arrest, during the course of his interrogation he fell unwell and was conveyed to hospital for treatment,” he said.
“On the following day, on his discharge from the hospital he appeared in court and was remanded to police cell.
“The region where he is detained is only an hour from his residence. He is not subject to any mistreatment and all his rights are observed.”
Mr Teeluckdharry has stated an intent to make a bid to get the charge against Narayanen struck out during a bail hearing next week.
He has also expressed concern that police may be contemplating further charges, questioning why Mauritius’s Major Criminal Investigation Team (MCIT) was handling a larceny case, when it is supposed to only probe the most serious crimes, such as murder.
After Mrs McAreavey’s killing, Narayanen was initially charged with conspiracy to murder, but that was later reduced to a larceny charge.
The larceny charge was struck out in 2013.
Mrs McAreavey, 27, was strangled in her room at the hotel on January 10th, 2011.
The teacher, who had got married 10 days earlier, was attacked as she returned to her room alone and disturbed a burglary.
No-one has been convicted of murdering the daughter of gaelic football manager Mickey Harte.
Two former workers at the luxury resort, Sandip Moneea and Avinash Treebhoowoon, were acquitted of murder after a high-profile trial on the holiday island in summer 2012.
Mrs McAreavey’s widower John has said his legal team in Mauritius is keeping him informed of developments.
Mr McAreavey has pursued a long campaign for justice and in 2017 offered a two million Mauritian rupee (€50,00o) reward for information leading to a successful conviction.