Belfast Telegraph

Two weeks to finalise Jean McConville case

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

Senior prosecutors have been given two weeks to finalise legal opinion on the case against a veteran republican charged in connection with one of Northern Ireland's most infamous murders.

Ivor Bell (78), from Ramoan Gardens in west Belfast, was released on continuing bail after a brief appearance at Laganside Magistrates Court yesterday.

Bell is alleged to have aided and abetted in the murder of mother-of-10 Jean McConville, who was abducted from her home in west Belfast in 1972. He is further accused of IRA membership.

During a hearing which lasted less than two minutes, a prosecution barrister requested a two-week adjournment so senior counsel could "finalise opinion" and for the Public Prosecution Service to consider it.

Defence solicitor Peter Corrigan said he had "no objections" to the short deferral.

Ordering the pensioner to reappear again next month, district judge George Conner said: "You are to come back on April 2 for a decision at that stage."

Grey-haired Bell appeared relaxed as he sat in the dock wearing an open-neck dark striped shirt and beige trousers.

He was supported by a man and woman in the public gallery.

Mrs McConville, a widow, was dragged from her home in Divis flats by an IRA gang after being accused of passing information to the Army in Belfast, an allegation dismissed by the Police Ombudsman.

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