Belfast Telegraph

Ivor Bell case: PPS will not appeal ruling

Ivor Bell (Niall Carson/PA)
Ivor Bell (Niall Carson/PA)
Jean McConville’s children Archie, Michael and Susie (Brian Lawless/PA)
IRA murder victim Jean McConville's son Archie outside Belfast Crown Court. October 17, 2019.
IRA murder victim Jean McConville's children (from left to right) Thomas, Archie, Michael, Susie and Jim, speak to the media outside Belfast Crown Court. October 17, 2019.

The decision to acquit Ivor Bell was taken after Justice O’Hara ruled that a key piece of evidence – namely audio recordings known as the Boston Tapes - was inadmissible.

Mr Bell was acquitted of any involvement in the murder of Belfast mother-of-10 Jean McConville in 1972.

Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Michael Agnew, said: "The prosecution team considered carefully whether there was a right of appeal to this judgment. However, given that Mr Bell had been found unfit to stand trial, and the hearing in which the ruling was made was a trial of the facts rather than a criminal trial, it was concluded that there is no mechanism for any appeal.

"In these circumstances, the prosecution has offered no further evidence against the defendant and the jury has been directed to find him not guilty.

“"This case presented the PPS with a number of novel and complex legal and evidential issues. Whilst we respect the ruling of the judge we remain satisfied the proceedings were properly brought.

"The decisions taken in this case were fully in accordance with the Test for Prosecution which requires the PPS to proceed with those cases in which it is considered there is a reasonable prospect of conviction (or of a finding that a defendant unfit to be tried did the act charged against him) and in which prosecution is in the public interest.

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Jean McConville (PA)

"The PPS would like to sincerely thank the family of Mrs Jean McConville for the positive and dignified way in which they have engaged with us throughout what was no doubt a distressing time for them.”

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