Belfast Telegraph

Boston tapes: Clock ticking on police bid to hear IRA man's tapes

By Alan Erwin

Police and prosecutors have been given two weeks to provide reasons why recorded interviews with a former IRA man obtained after a "defective" request process should not be sent back to America.

High Court judges in Belfast imposed the deadline in Anthony McIntyre's ongoing legal battle to stop detectives obtaining his Boston College tapes.

He was one of the main researchers in a major 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 remain confidential while they were alive.

But those assurances were dealt a blow after police secured transcripts and tapes of interviews given by former IRA woman Dolours Price and high-profile loyalist Winston "Winkie" Rea.

Now detectives want access to McIntyre's recorded recollection of his own IRA activities as part of investigations 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. Although the tapes were released and flown from America, they remain under seal within the court until the legal challenge is determined.

McIntyre, who is from Belfast but now lives in the Irish Republic, is seeking to judicially review the PSNI and Public Prosecution Service (PPS) for issuing an ILOR (International Letter of Request) his lawyers described as "replete with errors".

At court yesterday, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan referred to defects and inaccuracies said to feature in the letter - including an armed robbery incident for which McIntyre was never convicted.

Despite prosecution submissions that those mistakes were highlighted, he expressed uncertainty about how the process was dealt with in America. The Lord Chief Justice told the PPS and PSNI they must lodge any further written submission within two weeks on why it should be presumed that defects within the ILOR were regularised.

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