“There have been times on our own island when the guilty have gone free.”

Or haven’t even been brought to trial in the first place…  As Fionola Meredith pointed out in yesterday’s Irish Times

There is a lingering idea among Irish people that, because of our own past sufferings, we have a particularly sensitive moral antenna, highly attuned to instances of injustice and exploitation.

That does not always bear out in reality. Perhaps we’re just more hypocritical: witness the Irish red carpet for red China, rolled out earlier this year. Tiananmen Square?

Is that a Nama development?

The other striking aspect of the McAreavey trial and publication of the offending photographs is the determinedly bullish attitude taken towards the Mauritians by the Government, and by Northern Ireland’s First and Deputy First Ministers.

Of course, we are all shocked, all disgusted.

But there is also the sense that, with Mauritius, there is finally a state with which Ireland, North and South, can throw its weight around.

Ministers appear to have drawn confidence from the wave of high public feeling in taking this small island state sternly to task.

The question is whether we have accrued enough moral capital of our own to be able to do that with sufficient authority. There have been times on our own island when the guilty have gone free.

[And the Northern Irish red carpet for red China! – Ed]  Of course, some have been throwing their weight around more than others.

The former presidential candidate said he wants a retrial in Mauritius over the unsolved killing as he prepared to meet the country’s High Commissioner in London.

Legends hotel workers Sandip Moneea and Avinash Treebhoowoon were cleared of the murder by a jury at the Supreme Court in Port Louis last Thursday.

Jurors had deliberated for about two hours.

Mr McGuinness said: “The real purpose of the meeting is to discuss with the Mauritius authorities the appalling handling of the case relating to the murder of Michaela McAreavey and the appalling way in which the Harte and McAreavey families were treated during the course of not just the investigation but the court proceedings, and the perverse verdict of the jury.

“There’s a very strong view on the island of Ireland and shared by the McAreavey and Harte families that they did not get justice.”

In the interview on RTÉ Radio, he added: “I do disagree with the verdict of the jury.”

…..

Mr McGuinness said he believed that there are people in political authority in Mauritius who share his views.

“The focus has to be on a retrial,” he said.

After that meeting in London, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness was less strident

[The Northern Ireland Attorney General] Mr Larkin has asked for a set of the trial papers and Mr McGuinness said he would be “examining in conjunction with the Mauritian authorities all of the possibilities. It would be foolish for me, someone who isn’t a lawyer, to delve into the legal process”. [added emphasis]

Indeed.  That change in tone might have something to do with what the Acting Mauritian High Commissioner to London, Mohamed Latona, said.

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. [added emphasis]

Or as the Irish Times report noted

Acting Mauritian high commissioner to London Mohamed Latona said Mr McGuinness had expressed “his sentiments which . . . are legitimate”.

“I explained that the government will take all necessary action to bring the perpetrators to justice,” he said, adding that Mauritius was “looking forward” to collaborating with the PSNI and Garda “so that they can help us in further investigation so that we can start afresh”.

He emphasised, however, that Mauritius had an independent courts system. [added emphasis]

Still, what’s a little political interference in an independent judicial system among friends?

Even if, in this case, as Patrick has highlighted, the professed concern isn’t about the rights of prisoners.  [No votes there! – Ed]

As to why Martin McGuinness thought he could “delve into the legal process”, in Mauritius, in the first place…

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  • Zig70

    I did see Marty’s interview and think mmm and think it was typical slugger fodder. Bit slow of the mark? Tricky given the primacy of the families feelings.

  • andnowwhat

    There’s already a superior thread on the issue Pete.

    Fionola Meredith? Really?

  • Mister_Joe

    The constant call for a “retrial” leaves me feeling uneasy. Would this be a retrial of the pair that have been found not guilty by a jury, irrespective of McGuinness disagreeing with the jury?
    What is needed is a reexamination of the evidence, and, if the evidence is sufficient to identify another person, then a completely new trial. That is probably impossible now.

  • michael-mcivor

    ” As to why Martin McGuinness thought he could delve into the legal process in Mauritius ”

    some journalists think they can delve into the peace process when ever they want to-

    Sad when a politican is run down for looking out for the rights of his constituent’s-

  • andnowwhat

    Michael

    Not when it comes to the chance for a bit of shinner bashing, it would seem

  • son of sam

    I wasn’t aware that either the Hartes or Mc Areaveys were constituents of Martin Mc Guinness .Perhaps Michael Mc Ivor could enlighten us.

  • andnowwhat

    I know this’ll be news to Peter Robinson but as a first minister, all the population are constituents.

    Perhaps some are suggesting that, for example, a soldier killed in Afghanistan is none of Cameron’s business, just his MP’s?

  • NOT NOW JOHN

    Definition of CONSTITUENT

    1 : one who authorizes another to act as agent: PRINCIPAL

    2 : a member of a constituency

    3 : an essential part : COMPONENT, ELEMENT

    4 : a structural unit of a definable syntactic, semantic, or phonological category that consists of one or more linguistic elements (as words, morphemes, or features) and that can occur as a component of a larger construction

    Definition of CONSTITUENCY

    1 a: a body of citizens entitled to elect a representative (as to a legislative or executive position)

    b: the residents in an electoral district

    c: an electoral district

    2 a: a group or body that patronizes, supports, or offers representation

    b: the people involved in or served by an organization (as a business or institution)

  • Pete Baker

    “Would this be a retrial of the pair that have been found not guilty by a jury, irrespective of McGuinness disagreeing with the jury?”

    That’s about the height of it, Joe.

    As I’ve said before, they seem to have a problem with due process…

  • RyanAdams

    “some journalists think they can delve into the peace process when ever they want to-”

    It’ll be news to the drones however the electorate, of which journalists form part do have right to independent thought and opinion and the right to express it; what ever narritive they wish to push; if you don’t like it China and yourself may have much in common.

  • michael-mcivor

    RyanAdams-

    Nothing wrong with jounalists as long as they just tell the story and dont think that they are the story or a bit part of it-

    That editor who published those forensic photos of Michaela in his sunday paper collapsed when he was brought before the courts- that event will be a nice picture for this sundays papers- what goes around etc-

  • Mister_Joe

    McGuiness is astoundingly arrogant when, not having listened to all of the evidence and not been able to judge the demeanour of the witnesses, he announces that the jury got it wrong.

  • son of sam

    Michael Mc Ivor
    A few examples please of “journalists who think they are the story or part of it”

  • lamhdearg2

    I heard marty say something along the lines of, no news paper here would do what they had done, I wondered if he meant print pics of a murdered person, but he could not have meant that , or he has never seen the sunday world.
    Generally folk dont like others telling them how to run their affairs, I would expect a backlash from the mauritian people.
    When the court found the pair not guilty the tv news here spent a fair part of their time (it even push the annual12th riot news into second place) telling us about the acquittals, the reports run, played the heart strings, they did not however tell us why (based on evidence) the jury hade got it wrong.

  • wild turkey

    “Nothing wrong with jounalists as long as they just tell the story and dont think that they are the story or a bit part of it-”

    really, Michael? if that’s the case, then the ongoing 30+ years of Connolly House PR-Marketing Strategy of the “Armed Struggle”(copy right obtains) bites the dust.

    PB, as to your concluding remark/question
    ” As to why Martin McGuinness thought he could ”delve into the legal process”, in Mauritius, in the first place…”

    ah, vanity perhaps?
    or perhaps Matin Mandela is an internationalist justice-fighter?

  • BluesJazz

    “Or haven’t even been brought to trial in the first place”

    Maybe Martin McGuinness could highlight the unsolved murder of Joanne Mathers here in Northern Ireland as an example to the Mauritian court of how people feel justice is not served.

    Just a thought. Though since that murder was in his home city, I don’t recall his outrage that the perpetrators were never brought to justice.

    Like I say, just a thought, eh Martin?

  • ptolemyforbesbrown

    On this issue Mr McGuinness comes across like the archetypal Mr Angry Colonel Blimp from the Home Counties telling Johnny Foreigner the ‘proper’ way to do things.

    Such arrogant hectoring could have been expected from politicians on unionism’s right wing but it strikes a jarring note coming from a professed republican. More so given Sinn Fein’s long railing against ‘foreign’ involvement in domestic affairs.

    Perhaps an unkind commentator could be bold enough to suggest that given the large local GAA following, and the understandable sympathy within that community for the families involved in the tragedy, Mr McGuinness recognises the potential for votes in championing the case. In those circumstances his bull-headed approach may play well to the gallery.

  • wild turkey

    “Maybe Martin McGuinness could highlight the unsolved murder of Joanne Mathers here in Northern Ireland as an example to the Mauritian court of how people feel justice is not served.”

    personally bluesjazz, i agree with the above., but….

    given that this an olympic year, perhaps we, you and i and others, are getting a bit carried away by setting such a high ethical and moral highjump for Martin Mandela?
    even if it is a bar that my children, your children perhaps, joyously jumped at about the age of 7or 8….
    which my old outdated catechism tells me is the age of moral responsibily

    “Such arrogant hectoring could have been expected from politicians on unionism’s right wing but it strikes a jarring note coming from a professed republican.”

    ptolemy, ah, if you accept the proposition that ideaologies, as oppossed to political opinions, cannot be measured on a simple linear continumum, then perhaps the circle just goes round and round and round. and who can tell the right from the left?

    professed irish republicanism could ,in some of its manifestations and practices be viewed, as kinda right wing. Evidence? lets try on deals and allegiances during WWII on for size.

  • BluesJazz

    wild turkey
    I don’t think morality (in the genuine sense) is a key issue for any of our politicians, here or elsewhere. Despite what they profess. None of us are beyond prejudice.
    But Martin McGuinness has openly declared that the jury were wrong in a court case on an island thousands of miles away and then admits he is no lawyer.
    That’s just pathetic, given his background. Especially since Joanne Mathers was of similar age and as innocent as Michaela.
    Maybe you know why as much as me and many others.
    That’s why there is no thread on the BBC Bloody Friday anniversary programme on which ‘No republicans would take part’
    The ‘process’ decrees …..

  • michael-mcivor

    Martin McGuinness is looking for justice – whilst the brit army do what they do and are still killing today-

    Blus Jazz-

    ” No Republicans would take part ”
    you must have missed the interview with Gerry Adams on that programme- what else did you miss-

  • PeterBrown

    Michael

    Catch yourself on – though your green tinted spectacles did you not see that the interview with Adams was several years old and was immediately followed by the announcement on screen that no republican would take part in the programme.How about actually being truthful?

    What else did YOU miss apart from the other questions about Marty’s crocodile tears in the posts above which you have chosen not to even attempt to answer because you like the rest of us are presumably overcome by the fumes in the form of stench of hypocrisy?

  • son of sam

    The last paragraph in ptomely Forbes brown post may well be near the mark if one remembers the funerals of Michaela and Ronan Kerr when Sinn Fein politicians sought to ensure high visibility before the cameras.Apologies if that sounds a bit cynical but sadly a reality.

  • Toastedpuffin

    “the funerals of Michaela and Ronan Kerr when Sinn Fein politicians sought to ensure high visibility before the cameras”

    Indeed – for me one of the most distasteful aspects of the reaction this side of the equator. Republicanism’s attitude toward murder has always lacked humanity, but the blatant self promotion in potential vote-winning situations, well I’m surprised it hasn’t garnered more comment.

  • DC

    Personally, I think it was Mauritian racism against white Irish, looking to get their lot off, because i am struggling to find any other reason why the family was treated so poorly and with such contempt.

    That defence lawyer who had to withdraw, Ravi Rutnah, well worth a good smack in the face, figuratively speaking.

  • DC

    The question is whether we have accrued enough moral capital of our own to be able to do that with sufficient authority.

    I think Fionola is wrong here with the McAreavey murder, the deceased was an Irish citizen (or British i guess depending on your imagined community) and support should be shown whether it comes from officials and leaders north or south pr both and across communities.

    Where northern nationalists should butt out is on the state of Israel and Palestine, and from holding silly little debates up in Stormont on the affairs between those two; her point is most valid on that one, given all that went on here around battling over the constitution, a constitution that is still not settled some would say. So what gives us and northern nationalists in particular the right to interfere in other countries affairs, esp countries that are battling with the same issue.

  • HeinzGuderian

    We can comment not on other politicians !!
    Religious fundamentalists on one side,and religious murderers on the other.

    Personally I think the verdict was a joke………but then there are some who still moan about ‘British Jusice’ 😉

  • Mister_Joe

    Personally I think the verdict was a joke..

    Don’t know how you could know that, not having been at the trial. Anyhow, check out Amnesty International and Mauritius and you will find that there have been many complaints from them over a lot of years against the Mauritian police beating and torturing suspects to get confessions. Don’t want to scare away the tourists, you see.

  • son of sam

    Toasted puffin
    “blatant self promotion in potential vote winning situations”—-No surprise there.Sinn Fein are past masters at using any persons or organisations that are perceived to advance their electoral prospects.When Martin was running for President,he had the great Peter Canavan and the current Tyrone captain Stephen O ‘Neill along with Philomena Begley on stage at his rally in Omagh.Its only fair to say that the G A A is not a homogenous organisation as far as politics is concerned and no doubt many of its members would shy away from those who would seek to exploit their footballing skills.

  • Pete Baker

    BluesJazz

    That’s why there is no thread on the BBC Bloody Friday anniversary programme on which ‘No republicans would take part’

    The ‘process’ decrees …..

    If you think that I, or some others here, pay any credence to what The Process decrees then you haven’t been paying attention.

  • BluesJazz

    Still wondering why Martin McGuinness has plenty to say on a murder several thousand miles away, but nothing on Joanne Mathers in his home city. Maybe only one is a vote getter. The other an irritating itch…

  • BluesJazz

    Maybe Martin McGuinness could outlay to the Mauritian authorities, how the family of Joanne Mathers got ‘justice’. Just to show how it’s done.
    Or …..
    not?

  • galloglaigh

    BJ (pun intended)

    Maybe some of the other victims in Martin’s home city, those murdered by the ‘security forces’, might also get justice. We could go on for ever if we behave like children. Like I told someone previously: We’d get back to Cromwell and you’d get the picture for sure 🙂

  • Henry94

    There have been times on our own island when the guilty have gone free.

    Usually because someone innocent has had a confession beaten out of them and the courts have decided that will do nicely.

    The problem in Mauritius was not the trial it was the police investigation and if at this late stage that damage can be corrected only then should another trial be considered. We can’t assume a properly conducted investigation would lead to the same people being accused.

    Martin McGuinness is representing the victims and that is perfectly legitimate but as we know well the victims don’t always get satisfaction from the justice system and that is the price we willingly pay for fair trials.

  • PeterBrown

    galloglaigh / Henry

    In the vast majority of cases where the guilty have gone free here and indeed elsewhere there has been no trial at all and the victim’s here now have to cope with the fact that they will never receive the justice to which the
    Harte / McIlreavey family are undoubtedly entitled and which DFM seems to think they and only they are entitled to.

    The statistics here are as we are all well aware 60-30-10 but you keep throwing money for public inquiries at the 10 and forget about the 60 where the HET is getting less funding than for one incident in the 10% – that seems fais.

    On this trial which I have followed fairly closely with a professional interest the key moment for me was when the only DNA in the room was that of the colleague who turned QE and I never heard an explanation for this. I wonder would a reinvestigation lead toa retrial or a new trial and does Mauritius have a double jeopardy rule about trials for the same offence for the same defendants which we are int he processs of abolsihing if there is new evidence?

  • lamhdearg2