Belfast Project: Ivor Bell To Stand Trial

Boston College St. Ignatius Gate

The Guardian reports that Ivor Bell is to stand trial in the Jean McConville murder case. According to the report:

The case against the former IRA commander centres on alleged testimony he is accused of giving to the Belfast Project, an archive of IRA and Ulster loyalist paramilitaries over their role in the armed conflict between 1969 to the ceasefires of the early 1990s. The recorded testimonies of the former militants were for Boston College in the US and were not meant to have been released into the public domain until individual ex-IRA and loyalist activists had died.

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It is alleged that Bell is the man referred to as “Z” on the Boston College tapes, who allegedly spoke about the circumstances surrounding McConville’s disappearance and murder. Her body was only discovered in 2003 by a man walking his dog on a beach in Co Louth just across the border in the Irish Republic. Bell’s defence team have argued that the man known as Z is not their client.

Interested readers may want to take a look at my earlier post on some of the issues that have been raised in the case. Here was my conclusion:

So in short, it seems to me that if you are going to confess facts to a private person that may constitute a crime, and if your conversation is being taped, you probably aren’t going to be able to rely on the hearsay rule, or the fact that you weren’t warned before you made the confession, to save you. You may be able to avoid trouble if the prosecution can’t prove, one way or another, that it’s your voice on the tape. But if a jury believes that it is your voice, you’re probably in a bit of trouble.

About Ted Folkman

Ted Folkman is a shareholder with Murphy & King, a Boston law firm, where he has a complex business litigation practice. He is the author of International Judicial Assistance (MCLE 2012), a nuts-and-bolts guide to international judicial assistance issues, and of the chapter on service of process in the ABA's forthcoming treatise on International Aspects of US Litigation, and he is the publisher of Letters Blogatory, the Web's first blog devoted to international judicial assistance, which the ABA recognized as one of the best 100 legal blogs in 2012, 2014, and 2015.

2 thoughts on “Belfast Project: Ivor Bell To Stand Trial

  1. Here’s the thing though Ted, juries don’t often come into the picture in trials of Republicans in the North of Ireland.

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