Republican Ivor Bell 'has no case to answer’ over Jean McConville
Lawyers for a veteran republican charged in connection with the killing of Disappeared victim Jean McConville believe he may not have a case to answer, a court heard.
A judge was told Ivor Bell’s defence team could now mount a bid to have the prosecution thrown out before it reaches trial.
Bell (78) faces charges of aiding and abetting Mrs McConville’s murder, and membership of the IRA.
The victim, a mother of 10, was seized by the IRA from her Divis Flats home in west Belfast in 1972 after being wrongly accused of being an informer.
She was then shot dead and secretly buried across the border in Co Louth.
Bell, from Ramoan Gardens in the Andersonstown area of west Belfast, was arrested and charged in March last year.
The case against him centres on an interview he allegedly gave to US researchers from Boston College who interviewed several former paramilitaries about their roles in the Northern Ireland conflict.
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.
He attended Belfast Magistrates’ Court yesterday for a scheduled Preliminary Enquiry (PE) hearing to establish if he should be returned for trial. Some of Mrs McConville’s children were also present in the public gallery.
They heard defence solicitor Peter Corrigan tell the court: “The preliminary view from reading the papers is there isn’t a case to answer.”
District Judge Eamonn King agreed to put the case back for four weeks.