Bell found not guilty of encouraging Adams to murder McConville
Updated / Thursday, 17 Oct 2019 11:20
By Vincent Kearney
Former self-confessed senior IRA member Ivor Bell has been found not guilty of encouraging Gerry Adams and another man to murder and secretly bury mother of ten Jean McConville.
The former Sinn Féin president categorically denies any involvement in the killing in 1972.
A judge in Belfast Crown Court ruled that the key prosecution evidence against former IRA member Mr Bell from west Belfast was inadmissible.
Mr Justice O’Hara this morning directed the jury of eight men and four women to find him not guilty.
“The jury has confirmed, by my direction, Mr Bell is not guilty of the two offences of soliciting the murder of Mrs Jean McConville,” the judge said.
The trial began last week and took place over seven days, but the media were banned from reporting until today.
The prosecution case was based on interviews Mr Bell gave as part of an oral history project by Boston College.
During the interviews he alleged that Gerry Adams and another man discussed the killing and disappearance of Ms McConville during a meeting shortly before she was killed.
Questioned as a witness on Monday, the former Sinn Féin leader said he had not attended any such meeting and never discussed Ms McConville with anyone.
“I want to categorically deny any involvement in the abduction, killing and the burial of Jean McConville,” he told the court.
After seven days of hearings, the judge yesterday ruled that the tapes were inadmissible as evidence.
Mr Justice O’Hara said the person who conducted the interviews, former IRA member Anthony McIntyre, was a man with an agenda who was “out to get Mr Adams”.
This morning he directed the jury to enter a finding of “not guilty”.