herald

Friday 1 August 2014

Editor fights €600k case over Michaela pictures

THE newspaper editor who published images of Michaela McAreavey's dead body will "fight" impending legal action from the murdered woman's family.

The tragic bride's husband John and five other relatives are suing the Mauritian Sunday Times newspaper and its editor Imraan Hosany.

Overall the McAreavey and Harte families are seeking combined damages of over €600,000.

Mr Hosany told the Herald today that while he has yet to receive a formal complaint "of course when I do I will fight it".

Asked if he is concerned about being brought to court, he replied: "No no, I'm not concerned. I'm not worried. As I said I already apologised for publishing the photographs.

"This issue is now in the hands of my lawyer."

According to documents filed in the Mauritian Supreme Court, the publication of the photographs was an "affront to the dignity" of Michaela and a "serious and unforgivable" act.

John McAreavey is personally seeking in the region of €377,000 in damages for the distress caused by the publication of the photographs.

And it's emerged that Michaela's parents, Mickey and Marian Harte, and brothers Mark, Michael and Matthew are seeking €50,000 each from the Mauritian Sunday Times.

A spokesman for the family confirmed to the Herald that legal action has been initiated but refused to comment.

The newspaper's decision to print 12 black and white photographs of Michaela's corpse sparked fury from the McAreavey and Harte families, as well as from political figures.

The move prompted an emergency meeting between Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and the Irish ambassador to Mauritius Brendan McMahon in July.

DAMAGES

In the legal complaint, it is claimed that John and Michaela were staying in Mauritius from January 8-15 and had hoped to have a memorable holiday.

But publishing the pictures on July 15, 2012, meant the newspaper and its editor had committed a "serious and unforgivable" act towards the family.

It emerged in October that members of the McAreavey and Harte families are already suing the former Legends hotel -- where Michaela was murdered.

It's understood that they are seeking combined totals of over €1.3m -- the majority of which would be donated to a charity foundation set up in memory of the Co Tyrone teacher.

The 27-year-old newlywed, who was the only daughter of Tyrone GAA boss Mickey Harte, was found dead in her room at the former Legends Hotel -- now Lux -- on January 10 last year.

Former hotel employees Sandip Moneea and Avinash Treebhoowoon were found not guilty of her murder at the island's Supreme Court in July.

hnews@herald.ie

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