Belfast Telegraph

Ex-Provo in Boston tapes row can examine PPS files

By Alan Erwin

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.

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