Jean McConville murder: Veteran republican Ivor Bell to stand trial

Jean McConville murder: Veteran republican Ivor Bell to stand trial
By Alan Erwin
BelfastTelegraph.co.uk
Published 07/07/2016

A veteran republican is to stand trial over the killing of Belfast mother-of-ten Jean McConville, a judge ordered today.

Ivor Bell’s lawyers had attempted to have charges of soliciting to murder the victim, one of the so-called Disappeared, thrown out at a preliminary stage.

But District Judge Amanda Henderson ruled today that the 79-year-old has a case to answer.

She said: “Having regard to all the evidence I’m satisfied to the required standard of proof that at this stage there’s evidence to admit the accused for trial.”

Standing in the dock at Belfast Magistrates’ Court, Bell showed little emotion as the decision was announced.

The accused, from Ramoan Gardens in the city, denies allegations that he encouraged or persuaded others to kill the mother of ten.

Mrs McConville was seized by the IRA from her Divis Flats home in west Belfast in 1972 after being wrongly accused of being an informer.

Following her abduction she was shot dead and then secretly buried.

Her body was discovered on a Co Louth beach in 2003.

Post-mortem examinations revealed she was killed by a single gunshot wound to the back of the head.

The case against Bell centres on an interview he allegedly gave to researchers involved in the Boston College history project with ex-paramilitaries about their roles in the Northern Ireland conflict.

Although it was believed transcripts were not to be published until after the deaths of those who took part, pledges of confidentiality were rendered meaningless when a US court ordered the tapes should be handed over to PSNI detectives investigating Mrs McConville’s killing.

It is alleged that Bell was one of the project interviewees, given the title Z, who spoke about the circumstances surrounding the decision to abduct her.

His legal team had claimed the case against him was not strong enough to have him returned for trial.

Dressed in a navy jacket, grey shirt and cardigan, Bell arrived at court on bail with relatives and supporters.

Behind him in the public gallery were some members of the McConville family.

During the preliminary inquiry a librarian from Boston College accepted defence claims that former paramilitaries were misled into thinking they could reveal their activities to the study with complete impunity

Dr Robert O’Neill confirmed a contract between the university and the project director guaranteed confidentiality only to the extent American law allowed.

But the court heard separate “donor agreements” with interviewees gave them the impression nothing would be disclosed without their consent prior to their deaths.

Appearing via video-link from America, Dr O’Neill insisted any impression interview tapes would remain secret during their lifetime was down to an oversight in that contract.

A voice analyst also testified that interviewee Z was likely to be Bell.

Defence counsel argued it had not been proven that the case involved original, authentic recordings.

He pointed out the two men said to have carried out interviews for the Boston project, Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre, had not featured in the hearing.

But Judge Henderson held that the tapes were admissible based on the evidence before her. Following her ruling the charges were formally put to Bell.

Asked if he wanted to say anything in response to the allegations, call witnesses or give evidence at this stage he replied in a hushed voice: “No.”

With the judge having established he has a case to answer, she ordered him to be returned for trial at Belfast Crown Court on a date to be set.

Mrs Henderson also granted an application by defence counsel to amend Bell’s bail conditions, reducing his reporting to police to once a week.

Jean McConville, Ivor Bell, and the Denouement that Never Comes

Jean McConville, Ivor Bell, and the Denouement that Never Comes
Chris Bray
chrisbrayblog.blogspot.ie
Friday, July 1, 2016

There’s nothing there. It’s a shadow of a shadow of a shadow.

Prosecutors in Belfast have now presented their case against Ivor Bell, in a preliminary inquiry meant to show that their evidence is strong enough to be advanced to trial. The Public Prosecution Service alleges that Bell aided and abetted in the 1972 murder of the Belfast widow and mother Jean McConville, joining others in the solicitation of murder.

Don’t take my word for what I’m about to say: Take a few minutes to review some of the news stories about the preliminary inquiry. Here’s a story from the Belfast Telegraph. Here’s another story from the same newspaper. Here’s a story from the BBC. Here’s a story from the Times of London. (Remarkably, I can’t find any stories about the preliminary inquiry from the Irish Times.)

The preliminary inquiry lasted two days, and the testimony covered in news stories all focused on the Boston College tapes. Notice what testimony doesn’t appear in the news stories, and what kind of facts were apparently absent from the courtroom:

What are the names of the people Ivor Bell allegedly aided and abetted?

Specifically, what are the criminal events, in sequence, in which Bell allegedly participated?

What is the name of the person who is alleged to have actually ordered the kidnapping, murder, and disappearance of Jean McConville?

Other than Ivor Bell, what are the names of the Provisional IRA leaders who allegedly discussed the subject of McConville’s murder and disappearance? There was a meeting: Who was there?

Previous accounts of McConville’s kidnapping from her home in Divis Flats suggest that about a dozen members of the Provisional IRA participated in the abduction. What were their names?

McConville was buried on a beach in the Republic of Ireland. What are the names of the people who dug her grave?

Who shot Jean McConville? 

Quite simply, unless it happened but the reporters in the courtroom completely missed it, prosecutors have outlined no crime at all. They have laid out no charges, advanced no facts, and described no events. They have not said who did the things that Ivor Bell is alleged to have assisted with; indeed, they have not said in any particular detail what actions he aided. They have no theory of the case they wish to advance in court, can publicly offer no timeline, and have named no names but one. They do not fully describe a plot and its procedure, placing Bell inside well-explained events in his particular context. They do not appear with witnesses who can testify firsthand about what they saw, heard, and did as McConville was carried from her home, killed and buried.

All they have – five years later – is the tapes. Which they present with a shrug, and some general testimony from a librarian about the project to record them.

Who ordered the murder of Jean McConville, and who shot her? It wasn’t Ivor Bell. To prosecute him for aiding and abetting without clearly and convincingly answering those two questions in an open courtroom is a sham and an embarrassment.

More than five years after the first subpoenas arrived at Boston College, we still have not seen the police or prosecutors in Northern Ireland venture a public answer to the most obvious questions of all.

This is a sideshow, staged by circus clowns, who stand over the grave of a murdered woman.

Judgment reserved on Jean McConville trial challenge

Judgment reserved on Jean McConville trial challenge
newsletter.co.uk

Judgment has been reserved at a hearing to determine if a veteran Belfast republican is to stand trial over the killing of Disappeared victim Jean McConville.

Lawyers for Ivor Bell are seeking to have his prosecution on charges of soliciting to murder dismissed at a preliminary stage.

But following two days of evidence and legal arguments at Belfast Magistrates’ Court, District Judge Amanda Henderson said she will try to give a decision next week.

She explained: “There have been lengthy submissions made and I would like to refer to those.”

Bell, 79, from Ramoan Gardens in the city, denies charges against him connected to an allegation that he encouraged or persuaded others to kill the mother of 10.

Mrs McConville was seized by the IRA from her Divis Flats home in west Belfast in 1972 after being wrongly accused of being an informer.

Following her abduction she was shot dead and then secretly buried.

Her body was discovered on a Co Louth beach in 2003.

The case against Bell centres on an interview he allegedly gave to researchers involved in the Boston College history project with ex-paramilitaries about their roles in the Northern Ireland conflict.

Although it was believed transcripts were not to be published until after the deaths of those who took part, a US court ordered the tapes should be handed over to PSNI detectives investigating Mrs McConville’s killing.

It is alleged that Bell was one of the project interviewees, given the title Z, who spoke about the circumstances surrounding the decision to abduct her.

His legal team claim the case against him is not strong enough to have him returned for trial.

Dressed in a dark shirt, Bell showed little expression as he sat in the dock throughout the proceedings.

Behind him in the public gallery were some of his relatives and members of the victim’s family.

During the preliminary inquiry a librarian from Boston College accepted defence claims that former paramilitaries were misled into thinking they could reveal their activities to the study with complete impunity.

Dr Robert O’Neill confirmed a contract between the university and the project director guaranteed confidentiality only to the extent American law allowed.

But the court heard separate “donor agreements” with interviewees gave them the impression nothing would be disclosed without their consent prior to their deaths.

Appearing via video-link from America, Dr O’Neill insisted any impression interview tapes would remain secret during their lifetime was down to an oversight in that contract.

In closing arguments Barry Macdonald QC, for Bell, claimed it had not been proven that the case involved original recordings.

He pointed out the two men said to have carried out interviews for the Boston project, Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre, had not featured in the hearing.

“In the absence of their evidence there is no evidence to the effect that these recordings are original, authentic recordings,” Mr Macdonald contended.

“We invite the court to decide this material is not admissible.”

Judge Henderson will now re-examine all submissions before reaching her verdict on whether Bell has a case to answer.

Trial decision due in case of republican charged with aiding McConville murder

Trial decision due in case of republican charged with aiding McConville murder
BelfastTelegraph.co.uk
Published 29/06/2016

A decision on whether a veteran republican should stand trial for involvement in the murder of a mother-of-10, could be made next week, a court has heard.

Ivor Bell, 79, from Ramoan Gardens in west Belfast is charged with aiding and abetting the kidnap, killing and secret burial of Jean McConville in 1972.

He is further charged with membership of the IRA.

District Judge Amanda Henderson told Belfast Magistrates she would consider whether the evidence, heard during a two day preliminary enquiry, was strong enough to return the accused for trial.

The judge said: “There have been lengthy enough submissions made.

“I will try to get a decision through by next Thursday (July 7).

“If the defendant is to be returned for trial then arrangements can be made.”

Mrs McConville, a widow, was dragged from her home in the Divis flats by an IRA gang of up to 12 men and women after being accused of passing information to the British Army in Belfast – an allegation discredited by the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman.

She was shot in the back of the head and buried 50 miles from her home. The IRA did not admit her murder until 1999 when information was passed to police in the Irish Republic.

Mrs McConville became one of the Disappeared and it was not until August 2003 that her remains were eventually found on Shelling Hill beach, Co Louth, by a member of the public.

Nobody has been convicted for her murder, one of the most notorious of the region’s bloody Troubles.

Part of the Crown’s case against Bell is based on a tape police secured from an oral history archive collated by Boston College.

Academics interviewed a series of former republican and loyalist paramilitaries for their Belfast Project on the understanding the accounts of the Troubles would remain unpublished until their deaths.

But that undertaking was rendered meaningless when the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) won a court battle in the US to secure the recordings.

It is alleged one of the interviews was given by Bell – a claim the defendant denies.

Throughout proceedings, grey-haired mustachioed Bell, who was prosecuted in 2014 and denies all charges, sat in the dock beside a single prison guard, listening impassively. He was dressed in a dark coat and dark shirt.

Just a few feet away, in the public gallery, were members of the McConville family including some of the widow’s children who have spearheaded a lengthy campaign for justice.

The case was adjourned for mention on July 5.

The McConville family declined to speak outside court.

Boston College ‘misled’ paramilitaries over tapes confidentiality

Boston College ‘misled’ paramilitaries over tapes confidentiality
newsletter.co.uk
28 June 2016

Former paramilitaries were misled into thinking they could reveal their activities to an American university study with complete impunity, a court has heard.

But a librarian from Boston College insisted any impression interview tapes would remain confidential during their lifetime was down to an oversight in a contract they signed.

Dr Robert O’Neill was giving evidence at a preliminary inquiry to decide if veteran Belfast republican Ivor Bell is to stand trial over the killing of Disappeared victim Jean McConville.

Bell, 79, from Ramoan Gardens in the city, denies charges of soliciting to murder connected to an allegation that he encouraged or persuaded others to kill the mother of 10.

Mrs McConville was seized by the IRA from her Divis Flats home in west Belfast in 1972 after being wrongly accused of being an informer.

Following her abduction she was shot dead and then secretly buried.

Her body was discovered on a Co Louth beach in 2003.

The case against Bell centres on an interview he allegedly gave to researchers involved in the Boston College history project with ex-paramilitaries about their roles in the Northern Ireland conflict.

Although it was believed transcripts were not to be published until after the deaths of those who took part, a US court ordered the tapes should be handed over to PSNI detectives investigating Mrs McConville’s killing.

It is alleged that Bell was one of the project interviewees, given the title Z, who spoke about the circumstances surrounding the decision to abduct her.

His legal team claim the case against him should be dismissed.

During a hearing at Belfast Magistrates’ Court to examine the strength of the evidence Dr O’Neill, Burns Librarian at the College, appeared by video link from Boston.

He confirmed a contract between the college and the project director guaranteed confidentiality only to the extent American law allowed.

But the court heard separate “donor agreements” with interviewees gave them the impression nothing would be disclosed without their consent prior to their deaths.

Cross-examining the librarian, Barry Macdonald QC, for Bell, asked: “Do you now see how they were all misled, those people who were interviewed?”

Dr O’Neill replied: “Yes.”

He also accepted counsel’s suggestion they received guarantees that should never have been given, leaving them feeling “free to make all sorts of claims in respect to themselves and other with impunity”.

The librarian agreed it was accurate to say interviewees believed there was no prospect of facing prosecution or having their accounts tested during their lifetimes.

Challenged on why he did nothing to correct the impression, he responded: “It was an oversight on my part and I will accept responsibility for that, that the agreement with the interviewees did not include the restriction ‘to the extent American law allows’.”

During the hearing it also emerged that he received 25 per cent of the royalties from journalist and author Ed Moloney’s book ‘Voices from the Grave’, based on Brendan Hughes’ and David Ervine’s contributions to the oral history project at Boston before their deaths.

Continuing with questioning, Mr Macdonald contended that interviewees were effectively induced into giving accounts of their involvement because they felt there would be no come back.

“Do you see how interviewees might have been led to believe by the terms of this agreement that they could, if they wanted to, settle old scores, or implicate people in things they hadn’t done, or implicate themselves in things they hadn’t done,” the barrister asked.

“In other words, the contracts themselves permitted the state of affairs which led to these interviews being inherently unreliable.”

Although Dr O’Neill accepted there may have been misunderstandings, he stressed that there could never be absolute confidentiality.

He went on: “It was widely believed that these stories were going to go to the grave.

“With the interviewees’ accounts there was an opportunity to record their stories, the entire project was motivated on the basis of recording as much as possible, the stories of participants in the paramilitary movement.”

Pressing him to confirm the donor agreement oversight was completely innocent, Mr Macdonald put it to the librarian that the consequences for those taking part could be “dire”.

He continued: “The question arises whether this was not inadvertent or accidental, but a deliberate omission in order to encourage all those interviewees to speak on the understanding that there would be no implications for them during their lifetimes.

“In other words it was deliberately done to loosen their tongues.”

Dr O’Neill replied: “I can only say it was not deliberate on my side.”

The hearing continues.

The PSNI, PPS, US DoJ and Boston College: A Long Game of Blindfolded Darts

A Long Game of Blindfolded Darts
Chris Bray
Chris Bray Blog
24 June 2016

I’ve been arguing for years that the Belfast Project subpoenas aren’t an example of a police investigation, but rather offer proof that police in Northern Ireland are engaged in a theatrical performance and refusing to perform real detective work. Events in Belfast courts this week prove the point.

First, in a hearing regarding an American subpoena requested by the PSNI for Belfast Project interviews conducted with Anthony McIntyre, lawyers for McIntyre argued that the International Letter of Request (ILOR) sent by the British government to the U.S. government was “replete with errors, and that’s putting it mildly.” Among the errors alleged by McIntyre’s lawyers were claims made in the ILOR that McIntyre had previously been convicted for offenses for which he had actually been acquitted or never charged.

In response, lawyers for the police and the prosecution service made no argument at all, neither conceding nor rejecting the claim; instead, they told the judges hearing the case that they would have to look into it. “Counsel for the respondents were unable to confirm the claim, insisting archives would have to be checked,” the Irish Newsreported (emphasis added). Here’s what comes next in that newspaper story:

Lord Justice Weatherup, sitting with Lord Justice Weir, described the situation as unsatisfactory.

“It’s incredible; you have sent a letter to America… and you don’t know whether it was in respect of an offence for which he’s already been acquitted,” he said.

So the Police Service of Northern Ireland initiated a request for the U.S. Department of Justice to subpoena an academic archive in Boston, and now — now, after making an international request for legal assistance in a supposed criminal investigation — have begun to look into the factual background their own case. Oh, yeah, man, we’ll go, like, check the archives and stuff.

The laziness, shoddiness, indifference to professional standards, and general halfassedness scream across an ocean at the American prosecutors who are playing along with this nonsense. These worthless idiots sent off an ILOR, then started to think about what they were up to. (A pattern emerges, by the way.) I’m not in Belfast to check, but I assume the PSNI’s detectives drool on themselves and shit their pants.

Meanwhile, in another hearing over a different set of Belfast Project interviews, a different judge heard a legal challenge to the evidence obtained in the case of Ivor Bell, who is accused of aiding and abetting in the 1972 murder of Jean McConville. The federal appeals court in Boston, narrowing the decision of a district court judge, ordered that only two interviews with the interview subject known as “Z” — who is alleged, but not proven, to be Bell — be handed over to the PSNI. In fact, Bell’s lawyers claim, authorities in Belfast are attempting to go to court with several more of the Belfast Project’s “Z” interviews, evidence obtained far beyond the scope of the American court order.

Of course, Bell was charged in early 2014; now, two and a half years later, prosecutors in Belfast can’t even get their evidence into the courtroom for a preliminary inquiry, much less a trial.

One week, two shambles.

Meanwhile, note the incredible statement at the conclusion of the Irish News story on the McIntyre hearing, linked above: A lawyer for the PSNI’s chief constable “suggested PSNI officers who will be in Boston on Saturday to collect other materials could also bring back the McIntyre recordings and deposit them, still sealed, with the court.

The PSNI has gone back to Boston, in at least one other international request for a subpoena that has not yet been disclosed. They keep churning up garbage with their shoddy trips to Boston, and they keep going back to Boston.

Will anyone ever restrain this idiots? They’re embarrassing themselves, damaging the legitimacy of Northern Ireland’s political institutions, wasting the DOJ’s time, angering Belfast judges, and making a clown show of the rule of law. And the U.S. government keeps shrugging and typing up the subpoenas.

Ex-IRA man denies bomb attack in new Boston College twist

Ex-IRA man denies bomb attack in new Boston College twist
newsletter.co.uk
23 June 2016

A former IRA man interviewed for an American university project claims he was the victim of a bomb attack for which he is now under investigation, the High Court has heard.

Anthony McIntyre also alleges he was acquitted on a charge of membership of a proscribed organisation that forms part of a police attempt to gain access to his tapes from Boston College.

Senior judges in Belfast have now ordered the PSNI and Public Prosecution Service to clarify the situation and explain how an International Letter of Request (ILOR) for the material wrongly included an erroneous conviction for armed robbery.

McIntyre’s legal bid to stop detectives listening to the tapes has been put on hold until explanations are provided and shared with American authorities.

With the case adjourned until September, PSNI officers due to travel to Boston on Saturday as part of a separate inquiry will not yet be able to take possession of the his recordings.

McIntyre, who is from Belfast but now lives in the Irish Republic, was one of the main researchers in the major project to compile an oral history of the conflict in Northern Ireland.

Dozens of loyalists and republicans provided testimonies to Boston College on the understanding their account would only be made public after they died.

But those assurances were dealt a blow when legal battles resulted in police securing transcripts and tapes of interviews given by former IRA woman Dolours Price and high-profile loyalist Winston “Winkie” Rea.

Rea, 65, from Groomsport, Co Down, appeared before a court earlier this month charged with the murders of two Catholic workmen in Belfast more than 25 years ago.

Now the authorities want access to McIntyre’s recorded recollection of his own IRA activities.

A subpoena seeking copies of his interviews has been served on Boston College by the British government.

The move involves an ILOR setting out alleged offences being investigated.

McIntyre’s lawyers have issued judicial review proceedings against the PSNI and PPS for issuing the request letter.

In court on Thursday it emerged that the alleged offences being investigate include a bomb explosion at Rugby Avenue in Belfast in 1976, and an imitation or toy pistol discovered inside a prison where he served time.

Ronan Lavery QC, for McIntyre, claimed: “The ILOR is replete with errors, and that’s putting it mildly.”

Disputing any suggestion that his client was behind the bombing incident, he added: “In relation to the explosion on Rugby Avenue Mr McIntyre (says he) was the victim.”

It was also contended that the former IRA man was acquitted more than 30 years ago of a membership charge that features in the international letter.

Counsel for the respondents were unable to confirm the claim, insisting archives would have to be checked.

Lord Justice Weatherup, sitting with Lord Justice Weir, described the situation as unsatisfactory.

“It’s incredible; you have sent a letter to America … and you don’t know whether it was in respect of an offence for which he’s already been acquitted,” he said.

During the hearing it was accepted that an armed robbery incident for which McIntyre was never convicted was erroneously included in the ILOR.

But judges were told the mistake was brought to the attention of the US court before any decision was taken on releasing the tapes.

Tony McGleenan QC, for the chief constable, contended that McIntyre was raising speculative points that may prove to be groundless.

He suggested PSNI officers who will be in Boston on Saturday to collect other materials could also bring back the McIntyre recordings and deposit them, still sealed, with the court.

However, Lord Justice Weatherup instead directed the PSNI and PPS to first file a statement explaining the issues raised.

Outside court McIntyre’s solicitor, Gavin Booth of KRW Law, claimed the international request process was unlawful and conducted in bad faith.

He added: “The court’s order clearly reflects concerns it has with regard to certain statements which have been made in the ILOR.”

Challenge against Boston College evidence in Jean McConville case

Challenge against Boston College evidence in Jean McConville case
22 June 2016
newsletter.co.uk

Evidence against a veteran republican charged over the killing of Disappeared victim Jean McConville has been unlawfully obtained from America, a court has heard.

Ivor Bell’s lawyer claimed excessive material was disclosed from the Boston College history project in breach of an international treaty.

A legal bid will now be mounted to have the information excluded from a hearing to decide if the 79-year-old should stand trial.

Bell, from Ramoan Gardens in west Belfast, faces charges of soliciting to murder connected to an allegation that he encouraged or persuaded others to kill Mrs McConville.

The victim, a mother of ten, was seized by the IRA from her Divis Flats home in west Belfast in 1972 after being wrongly accused of being an informer.

Following her abduction she was shot dead and then secretly buried.

Her body was discovered on a Co Louth beach in 2003.

The case against Bell centres on an interview he allegedly gave to US researchers from Boston College as part of a project with former paramilitaries about their roles in the Northern Ireland conflict.

Although transcripts were not to be published until after the deaths of those who took part, a US court ordered the tapes should be handed over to PSNI detectives investigating Mrs McConville’s killing.

It is alleged that Bell is one of the Boston interviewees, given the title Z, who spoke about the circumstances surrounding the decision to abduct her.

A voice analyst has been enlisted as part of the case.

The accused – who is currently on bail – denies any role in events surrounding the murder, claiming he was not even in the city at the time.

Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard that a Federal Court judge in America had ordered disclosure of Z’s interviews was to be limited to only material relating to the Jean McConville case.

Defence lawyer Peter Corrigan argued that the tapes handed over to police went beyond those restrictions.

“That evidence has been unlawfully obtained and should be excluded,” he claimed.

Mr Corrigan told the court that material put to Bell during police interviews was “way beyond the Jean McConville murder”.

“It was unfairly obtained and in clear contravention of an international treaty.”

The charge against Bell is set to be examined at a preliminary inquiry hearing where witnesses can be cross-examined.

Defence lawyers contend that he does not have a case to answer and will attempt to have the prosecution thrown out at that stage.

But following Wednesday’s developments District Judge Amanada Henderson requested further submissions on the lawfulness of the evidence.

Former IRA man McIntyre being investigated over six alleged offences

Former IRA man McIntyre being investigated over six alleged offences
newsletter.co.uk
7 June 2016

A former IRA man who gave interviews for an American university project is being investigated in connection with six alleged offences, the High Court heard today.

Anthony McIntyre is taking legal action in a bid to stop the PSNI and Public Prosecution Service gaining access to his tapes from Boston College.

Senior judges were told he has now been provided with a copy of international letter requesting the recordings – but in a redacted form setting out no details of the suspected crimes.

Lawyers for the PSNI and prosecuting authorities may now seek formal confidentiality through Public Interest Immunity (PII) steps amid fears that full disclosure could compromise the criminal investigation.

McIntyre, who is from Belfast but now lives in the Irish Republic, was one of the main researchers in the major project to compile an oral history of the conflict in Northern Ireland.

Dozens of loyalists and republicans provided testimonies to Boston College on the understanding their account would only be made public after they died.

But those assurances were dealt a blow when legal battles resulted in police securing transcripts and tapes of interviews given by former IRA woman Dolours Price and high-profile loyalist Winston “Winkie” Rea.

Rea, 65, from Groomsport, Co Down, appeared before a court on Monday charged with the murders of two Catholic workmen in Belfast more than 25 years ago.

Now the authorities want access to McIntyre’s recorded recollection of his own IRA activities.

A subpoena seeking copies of his interviews has been served on Boston College by the British government.

The move involves an International Letter of Request (ILOR) setting out alleged offences being investigated.

McIntyre’s lawyers have issued judicial review proceedings against the PSNI and PPS for issuing the ILOR.

They claim police are engaged in a “fishing expedition” and insist the recordings of his activities only contain details of crimes for which he has already served a prison sentence.

It was confirmed today that they have been provided with a redacted version of the ILOR.

McIntyre’s barrister, Ronan Lavery QC, said: “The offences themselves are listed, but they aren’t specified in terms of date, or time or place.”

Responding to his concerns, Peter Coll QC, for the PPS, said there may be no option but to seek a certificate for PII from the Secretary of State.

Lord Justice Weatherup, sitting with Lord Justice Weir, decided issues about the redacted letter should be dealt with before the legal challenge continues.

“The explanation for this is incomplete,” he said.

“It can’t be that complicated, it’s based on some ongoing investigation where, if you made disclosure, it would jeopardise that investigation.”

During the hearing Tony McGleenan QC provided an affidavit on behalf of the Chief Constable outlining the reasons for the ILOR redactions.

He said it refers to sensitive, confidential material which, if revealed, could impede the police probe.

The court was told up to six alleged offences have been identified, with no further details provided.

Mr McGleenan added: “The first step would be to determine whether the Chief Constable wants to assert the PII claim.

“If we do, that will require a ministerial certificate in respect of those redactions.”

But Mr Lavery claimed inconsistencies between the public interest concerns and a separate reason cited of preventing possible destruction or tampering with the requested material.

Following submissions the case was adjourned to next week for a further review.

Ex-IRA man interviewed by Boston College investigated by PSNI

Ex-IRA man interviewed by Boston College investigated by PSNI
Anthony McIntyre faces criminal inquiry over six alleged offences, court hears
The Irish Times
Tue, Jun 7, 2016

A former IRA man interviewed for a US university project is being investigated in connection with six alleged offences, the High Court in Belfast has heard.

Anthony McIntyre is taking legal action in a bid to stop the PSNI and Public Prosecution Service gaining access to his tapes from Boston College.

Senior judges were told he has now been provided with a copy of international letter requesting the recordings – but in a redacted form setting out no details of the suspected crimes.

Lawyers for the PSNI and prosecuting authorities may now seek formal confidentiality through Public Interest Immunity (PII) steps amid fears that full disclosure could compromise the criminal investigation.

Mr McIntyre, who is from Belfast but now lives in Drogheda, Co Louth, was one of the main researchers in the major project to compile an oral history of the conflict in Northern Ireland.

Dozens of loyalists and republicans provided testimonies to Boston College on the understanding their account would only be made public after they died.

But those assurances were dealt a blow when legal battles resulted in police securing transcripts and tapes of interviews given by former IRA woman Dolours Price and high-profile loyalist Winston “Winkie” Rea.

Mr Rea (65), from Groomsport, Co Down, appeared before a court on Monday charged with the murders of two Catholic workmen in Belfast more than 25 years ago.

The authorities now want access to Mr McIntyre’s recorded recollection of his own IRA activities.

A subpoena seeking copies of his interviews has been served on Boston College by the British government.

The move involves an International Letter of Request (ILOR) setting out alleged offences being investigated.

Mr McIntyre’s lawyers have issued judicial review proceedings against the PSNI and PPS for issuing the ILOR.

They claim police are engaged in a “fishing expedition” and insist the recordings of his activities only contain details of crimes for which he has already served a prison sentence.

Following submissions, the case was adjourned to next week for a further review.