Jurors in the trial of two men accused of murdering the daughter of Tyrone gaelic football boss Mickey Harte were told to cut themselves off from the outside world as they prepare to hear from the first witness.
After the nine members were sworn in at Mauritius’s Supreme Court in the island’s capital city Port Louis, Judge Mr Justice Prithviraj Fecknah warned the three women and six men not to access any coverage or commentary on the Michaela McAreavey case.
The honeymooner was found dead in the bathtub of her luxury hotel room on the Indian Ocean island paradise last January, just two weeks after her wedding.
The 27-year-old teacher had momentarily left her new husband John beside the pool of the five-star Legends Hotel to fetch some biscuits.
The trial of the two hotel workers accused of her murder is one of the most high-profile the popular holiday destination has ever witnessed.
The defendants and then Mrs McAreavey’s widower were swamped by crowds outside court when they entered the courtyard of the old colonial era building.
Avinash Treebhoowoon, 30, and Sandip Moneea, 42, who deny the charges, were led into the dock as almost 200 people crammed into every available space inside. Scores stood at the back.
Relatives of the accused were jostled as police struggled to control the flow of people into court.
After an hour selection process, the nine jurors were sworn in and then retired to appoint a foreman.
On their return, Judge Fecknah addressed them before sequestering them to a hotel. “You will refrain from reading Press on this matter and you will refrain from watching the television,” he said.
The judge added: “You will free yourself from all outward sources of information.”
Mr McAreavey was accompanied to the court by his sister Claire, father Brendan and a brother of his late wife, Mark Harte.
The widower, from Co Down, who has been listed as a witness in the case, sat in court for a short period but left before jury selection commenced.
The trial continues.