'abhorrent'  | 

PSNI still trying to see if laws have been broken over Michaela McAreavey video

One person has already been interviewed by the PSNI
People are filmed singing the sick song inside the building

People are filmed singing the sick song inside the building

Rodney Edwards

Detectives investigating the “utterly abhorrent” sectarian video that mocked the murder of Michaela McAreavey are still trying to establish if a crime has been committed.

The PSNI, which considers the case a top priority, is still examining the video and exploring different pieces of legislation, it is understood.

One man has so far been interviewed by detectives, but others who attended the event where the video was filmed may also be questioned in a process that could take weeks.

“Our investigation into this incident is ongoing. On June 5, we interviewed one male, who attended voluntarily for an interview,” a PSNI spokesperson said.

A file will be prepared for review by the Public Prosecution Service “in due course”, the force said.

Investigators are trying to establish if a crime was committed by posting the video online, under electronic communications legislation.

A person is guilty of an offence if he or she “by means of public communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive”.

The video that sparked anger showed a group of men believed to be attending a Northern Ireland centenary celebration — laughing, clapping, cheering and banging tables strewn with beer cans, as others sing an offensive song about the 27-year-old who was murdered while on her honeymoon in Mauritius in 2011.

It is understood the family has taken the decision not to comment on the video. Mrs McAreavey’s father, GAA manager Mickey Harte, has not spoken about the incident.

Widower John McAreavey has posted on Twitter: “Michaela was a vessel of love, courage and dignity. Hate can hurt, but never win.”

Mr Harte and his family were in mourning last week following the death of brother-in-law Lee Mallaghan, one of the three founders of Powerscreen, which builds machinery used in construction projects. Mr Mallaghan died last week at a hospital in Blanchardstown, Dublin.

Last week the Sunday Independent reported that two men involved in the video were expected to be expelled from the Orange Order.

An inquiry has begun in which John Bell and Andrew McDade face claims of “bringing the institution into disrepute”, a senior Orange Order source said yesterday.

Meanwhile it emerged this weekend that Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is to write to both the Harte and McAreavey families to express the organisation’s support and solidarity for both families.

Sinn Féin Councillor Catherine Nelson is reported as having told a recent meeting that the “one positive to have come from the incident was the absolute rejection of sectarianism from a broad section of society”.

“The special bond she shared with her dad was something that always stood out to me. Michaela’s legacy lives on in the Michaela Foundation, which has been a beacon of light for so many young people and that is how Michaela is to be remembered,” she said.

“That is how she will live on in the hearts and minds of many.”


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