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

By Alan Erwin

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.

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