Attempt to access former IRA man’s Boston College tapes ‘replete with errors’ court told

Attempt to access former IRA man’s Boston College tapes ‘replete with errors’ court told
Lawyers for Anthony McIntyre and a senior judge both identified errors in the request letter setting out alleged offences under police investigation
Alan Erwin
Irish Times
January 16, 2018

A transatlantic process to obtain a former IRA man’s confidential interviews with an American university project was “replete with errors”, the High Court in Belfast heard today.

Lawyers for Anthony McIntyre and a senior judge both identified errors in the request letter setting out alleged offences under police investigation.

McIntyre is locked in a legal battle to stop detectives obtaining taped recordings of his participation in the Boston College project.

Reserving judgment following a series of hearings, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan said: “We want to consider the voluminous papers and recent submissions.”

McIntyre was one of the main researchers in the initiative to compile an oral history of the conflict in Northern Ireland. Dozens of loyalists and republicans provided testimonies on the understanding their accounts would remain confidential while they are alive. But those assurances were dealt a blow after police secured transcripts and tapes of interviews given by former IRA woman Dolours Price and high-profile loyalist Winston “Winkie” Rea.

Now detectives want access to McIntyre’s recorded recollection of his own IRA activities as part of investigations into alleged terrorist offences stretching back more than 40 years.

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

The move involved an International Letter of Request (ILOR) setting out alleged offences being probed, including a bomb explosion at Rugby Avenue in Belfast in 1976, and membership of a proscribed organisation.

Although the tapes were released and flown from America, they remain under seal within the court until the legal challenge is determined.

McIntyre, who is from Belfast but now lives in the Republic, is seeking to judicially review the PSNI and Public Prosecution Service (PPS) for issuing an ILOR his lawyers claim is littered with inaccuracies. They insisted that he was the victim in the bombing, and that he was acquitted of the membership charge that features in the ILOR.

Other alleged mistakes said to feature in the letter include an armed robbery incident for which McIntyre was never convicted.

As final submissions were made in court today, another of the three judges, Sir Reg Weir, stressed the importance of accuracy in the documents. “This is replete with errors,” he said.

Counsel for the respondents was pressed for confirmation on exactly when the explosion under investigation had occurred.

Sir Reg continued: “You would think police would know what date the bomb went off, this wasn’t a case about a stolen bicycle.”

Peter Coll QC, representing the PPS, replied that bombings were not a rare occurrence in Belfast at the time.

He insisted that any mistaken information in the original correspondence had been corrected and regularised.

Mr Coll also rejected any suggestion that police and prosecutors were pretending to investigate the Rugby Avenue incident as an act of “subterfuge” to gain access to McIntyre’s Boston College tapes.

Instead, he contended, the former IRA man’s legal case was “built on sand”. According to the barrister the legal challenge amounted to a suggestion that the court should supervise a police investigation.

“That is wrong and should not be encouraged,” he said.

But Ronan Lavery QC, for McIntyre, insisted the ILOR should have been withdrawn because of the amount of errors within it.

He also submitted: “It’s striking, considering the budget difficulties on investigations which are live, have never been resolved and in which there are victims, that police time and money should be spent on investigating crimes of this vintage of someone who has already served a lengthy term in prison.

“One wonders how this has been prioritised in this way.”

Boston Tapes: Deadline set in ex-IRA man Anthony McIntyre case

Boston Tapes: Deadline set in ex-IRA man Anthony McIntyre case
BBC News
13 November 2017

Police and prosecutors have been given two weeks to provide reasons why recorded interviews with a former IRA man should not be sent back to America.

High Court judges sitting in Belfast set the deadline in Anthony McIntyre’s legal battle against police accessing his “Boston tapes”.

The tapes are candid interviews with loyalist and republican paramilitaries held in a library at Boston College.

Dozens of loyalists and republicans provided testimonies to the college.

They spoke on the understanding that their stories would remain confidential while they were alive.

But those assurances were dealt a blow after police secured transcripts and tapes of interviews given by former IRA woman Dolours Price and high-profile loyalist Winston “Winkie” Rea.

Now the PSNI wants access to Anthony McIntyre’s recorded recollections as part of investigations into alleged terrorist offences stretching back more than 40 years.

He was one of the main researchers in the project to compile an oral history of the conflict in Northern Ireland.

A subpoena seeking copies of his interviews was served on Boston College by the Government.

It concerned an International Letter of Request (ILOR) setting out alleged offences, including a bomb explosion at Rugby Avenue in Belfast in 1976 and membership of a proscribed organisation.

The tapes were released and flown from America, but they remain under seal within the court pending the judges’ ruling.

Anthony McIntyre, who is from Belfast but now lives in the Republic of Ireland, is seeking to judicially review the PSNI and Public Prosecution Service (PPS) for issuing an ILOR which, his lawyers say, is “replete with errors”.

They insist that he was the victim in the bombing and that he was acquitted of the membership charge that features in the ILOR.

Written submissions

As the case returned to court on Monday, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan referred to defects and inaccuracies said to feature in the letter – including an armed robbery for which Anthony McIntyre was never convicted.

Despite the prosecution’s submissions that those mistakes were highlighted, Sir Declan expressed uncertainly about how the process was dealt with in America.

“We don’t know what happened as a result of the corrective steps taken by the PPS,” Sir Declan said.

He put it to the parties: “Should we not act in accordance with the law and send the material back?”

Following deliberations with his two judicial colleagues, the Lord Chief Justice confirmed the fortnight’s deadline.

He told the PPS and PSNI that they must lodge any further written submission within two weeks as to why it should be presumed that defects within the ILOR were regularised.

The court will then deliver judgment or list the case for a further hearing in January.

Boston College Tapes: Anthony McIntyre seeking to cross-examine police

Boston College Tapes: Anthony McIntyre seeking to cross-examine police
By Alan Erwin
Belfast Telegraph
May 26 2017

A former IRA man battling to stop detectives obtaining his interviews for an American university project is to seek to cross-examine police and prosecution representatives.

Counsel for Anthony McIntyre confirmed the move in the High Court on Friday as part of attempts to demonstrate alleged bad faith in the process.

Cross-examination of witnesses rarely occurs in judicial review proceedings.

But McIntyre’s legal team claim police attempts to gain access to the Boston College tape recordings are nothing more than a fishing exercise.

Earlier this week they secured an order for disclosure of correspondence from the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) to authorities in the United States.

The ex-republican prisoner wants to know if a US court dealing with the case received his affidavit denying involvement in alleged terrorist offences under investigation.

He is seeking to judicially review the PPS and Police Service of Northern Ireland for issuing an International Letter of Request (ILOR) over recordings held in Boston.

During a brief hearing today his barrister, Ronan Lavery QC, told Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan he will now be applying for permission to cross-examine those involved in the ILOR process.

McIntyre, who is from Belfast but now lives in the Irish Republic, was a researcher on the project to compile an oral history of the conflict in Northern Ireland.

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

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

Rea, 66, from Groomsport, Co Down, has been charged in connection with the murders of two Catholic workmen in Belfast more than 25 years ago.

Now the authorities are seeking access to McIntyre’s recorded recollection of his own IRA activities.
Detectives want the material as part of their investigation into alleged terrorist offences stretching back more than 40 years.

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

The move involves an ILOR setting out alleged offences being probed, including a bomb explosion at Rugby Avenue in Belfast in 1976, and membership of a terrorist organisation.

However, the former IRA man’s legal team claimed he was the victim in the bombing, and that he was acquitted of the membership charge that features in the ILOR.

They insist the letter is replete with serious inaccuracies and have pressed for answers on whether his affidavit clarifying the situation was forwarded to American authorities.

Ex-Provo in Boston tapes row can examine PPS files

Ex-Provo in Boston tapes row can examine PPS files
Correspondence on Anthony McIntyre sent by the Public Prosecution Service to the authorities in the US must be disclosed to his lawyers
By Alan Erwin
Belfast Telegraph
May 25 2017

Transatlantic legal correspondence must be disclosed to a former IRA man battling to stop police obtaining his interviews for an American university project, the High Court has ordered.

Senior judges ruled that Anthony McIntyre’s legal team should see material sent from the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) to authorities in the US.

The direction came as the bid to gain access to the Boston College tape recordings was branded a “fishing exercise”.

McIntyre wants to know if a US court dealing with the case received his affidavit denying involvement in alleged terrorist offences under investigation.

He is seeking to judicially review the PPS and PSNI for issuing an International Letter of Request (ILOR) over recordings held in Boston.

McIntyre, who is from Belfast but now lives in the Republic, was one of the main researchers in a major project to compile an oral history of the Troubles. Former paramilitaries provided testimonies on the understanding they 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 (66) from Groomsport, Co Down, has been charged in connection with the murders of two Catholics.

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

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

The move involves an ILOR setting out alleged offences being probed, including a bomb explosion at Rugby Avenue in Belfast in 1976, and membership of a terrorist organisation. However, the former IRA man’s legal team claimed he was the victim in the bombing, and that he was acquitted of the membership charge that features in the ILOR.

They insist the letter is replete with serious inaccuracies and have pressed for answers on whether his affidavit clarifying the situation was forwarded to American authorities.

Barrister Ronan Lavery QC said: “The proposition that he was a perpetrator of this bomb on Rugby Avenue, rather than actually being the victim, is such a serious error – an error isn’t the word for it.”

Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan directed discovery of some of the material sought to be made by Friday.

Ex-IRA man Anthony McIntyre seeks disclosure of US-UK legal correspondence

Ex-IRA man Anthony McIntyre seeks disclosure of US-UK legal correspondence
By Alan Erwin
Belfast Telegraph
May 8 2017

A former IRA man battling to stop police accessing his interviews for an American university project is to seek disclosure of all transatlantic legal correspondence.

Anthony McIntyre wants to know if a US court dealing with the Boston College tapes case received his affidavit denying involvement in alleged terrorist offences under investigation.

As High Court judges in Belfast directed that McIntyre’s challenge must be heard this month, his lawyers confirmed their related bid to see material sent between British and American representatives.

Gavin Booth of KRW Law said: “We welcome this matter being listed for full hearing and will now proceed to make a discovery application for all materials held and put before the US authorities.”

McIntyre, who is from Belfast but now lives in the Irish Republic, is seeking to judicially review the PSNI and Public Prosecution Service for issuing an International Letter of Request (ILOR) over recordings held at Boston College.

He was one of the main researchers in a major project to compile an oral history of the conflict in Northern Ireland.

Dozens of loyalists and republicans provided testimonies to the 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, 66, from Groomsport, Co Down, has been charged in connection 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.

Detectives want the material as part of their investigation into alleged terrorist offences stretching back more than 40 years.

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

The move involves an ILOR setting out alleged offences being probed, including a bomb explosion at Rugby Avenue in Belfast in 1976, and membership of a terrorist organisation.

However, the former IRA man’s legal team claimed he was the victim in the bombing, and that he was acquitted of the membership charge that features in the ILOR.

They insist the letter is replete with errors and have pressed for answers on whether his affidavit clarifying the situation was forwarded to American authorities.

The Public Prosecution Service has so far responded by stressing the confidentiality of the arrangements between the UK and US.

Cases involving requests for mutual legal assistance are commonly filed under seal in America, the court heard.

All issues are now set to be determined when the case gets underway in just over two weeks time.

Republican charged over death of Jean McConville has dementia, court told

Republican charged over death of Jean McConville has dementia, court told
Belfast Telegraph
5 Dec 2016

Lawyers for Ivor Bell, 79, told a judge their client had been diagnosed with a vascular form of dementia

Lawyers for Ivor Bell, 79, told a judge their client had been diagnosed with a vascular form of dementia

A veteran republican charged in connection with the notorious IRA murder of mother-of-10 Jean McConville is suffering from dementia and would not be able to fully participate in his trial, a court has been told.

Lawyers for Ivor Bell, 79, told a judge their client had been diagnosed with a vascular form of dementia.

The diagnosis is likely to prompt a defence application that Bell is unfit to stand trial on two counts of soliciting Jean McConville’s killing in 1972.

The defendant, from Ramoan Gardens in west Belfast, did not appear at the pre-trial hearing in Belfast Crown Court on Monday.

His barrister, Dessie Hutton, revealed the outcome of a defence commissioned medical examination to judge Seamus Treacy.

“He suffers from dementia which has a cardio vascular cause and he wouldn’t be able to properly follow the course of proceedings,” said the lawyer.

A prosecution lawyer told the judge that he would like to commission a psychiatrist to examine the defendant. He also requested full access to Bell’s medical files.

Judge Treacy adjourned the case until December 16 when lawyers will provide a further update on how the case will proceed.

Mrs McConville’s son, Michael, was among those watching on from public gallery of the court.

His 37-year-old mother was dragged from her home in Belfast’s Divis flats complex by an IRA gang of up to 12 men and women.

She was accused of passing information to the British Army – an allegation later discredited by the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman.

Mrs McConville was shot in the back of the head and secretly buried 50 miles from her home, becoming one of the “Disappeared” victims of the Troubles.

It was not until 1999 that the IRA admitted the murder when information was passed to police in the Irish Republic.

Her remains were eventually found on Shelling Hill beach in Co Louth by a member of the public in August 2003.

Nobody has been convicted of her murder.

The case against Bell is based on the content of tapes police secured from an oral history archive collated by Boston College in the United States.

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

But that undertaking was rendered meaningless when Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) detectives investigating Mrs McConville’s death won a court battle in the US to secure the recordings.

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

Former IRA man clears hurdle in legal battle over Boston College tapes

Former IRA man clears hurdle in legal battle over Boston College tapes
Alan Erwin
Belfast Telegraph
19/09/2016

A former IRA man interviewed for an American university project has cleared the first stage in a legal battle to stop police accessing his confidential tapes.

Anthony McIntyre was granted leave to seek to judicially review the PSNI and Public Prosecution Service for issuing an International Letter of Request (ILOR) over recordings held at Boston College.

Detectives want the material as part of their investigation into alleged terrorist offences stretching back 40 years.

But senior judges in Belfast ruled today that they were not yet satisfied information in the request for international co-operation had been “scrupulously” examined.

The case will now proceed to a full hearing in November.

McIntyre, who is from Belfast but now lives in the Irish Republic, was one of the main researchers in a 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, has been 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 probed, including a bomb explosion at Rugby Avenue in Belfast in 1976, and membership of a terrorist organisation.

Counsel for the former IRA man claimed he was the victim in the bombing, and that he was acquitted of the membership charge that features in the ILOR.

Accusing police of mounting a fishing expedition, Ronan Lavery QC said: “The letter itself is replete with errors, which we say are misleading and require an explanation.”

With leave to apply for a judicial review granted, fuller arguments will be advanced at the main
hearing.

Lord Justices Weatherup and Weir were also told Boston College has now released the tapes to authorities in America.

But the judges stressed that if PSNI officers travel to Massachusetts to retrieve the recordings they must remain under seal and be stored with the court until the challenge is decided.

Outside court a legal representative with McIntyre’s solicitors, KRW Law, said: “These matters should be properly and fully investigated before these international letters of request are issued.

“We agree with the judges view that these matters should be scrupulously attended to, and it’s our view that this has not happened in this case.”

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.

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.”