A decision on the case of veteran republican Ivor Bell and his "fitness to plead" on charges he faces in relation to the disappearance of Belfast mother-of-10 Jean McConville has been postponed.
Belfast Crown Court judge Mr Justice Colton said that he would not make any ruling on the defence application until a further application "to stay proceedings" is made and adjudicated upon.
A 'stay', if successful, would end all proceedings against the west Belfast man, not only criminal, but also over whether a separate hearing could be heard to determine if Mr Bell"committed the act", based on facts presented to the court. The defence maintain Bell's health is such he is unfit to stand trial.
Bell, from Ramoan Gardens, Andersonstown has yet to be formally arraigned on two charges he faces in connection with the murder and disappearance of Mrs McConville almost 46 years ago. He was again excused from attending court yesterday.