Jean McConville trial hearing date set

Ivor Bell was arrested and charged in March last year and is currently on bail
Ivor Bell was arrested and charged in March last year and is currently on bail

A veteran republican charged in connection with the killing of Disappeared victim Jean McConville is set to discover in October if he will stand trial.

Ivor Bell, 78, is currently charged with aiding and abetting the mother-of-10’s murder, and membership of the IRA.

At Belfast Magistrates’ Court District Judge George Conner provisionally listed a preliminary enquiry hearing for October 22.

Those proceedings will establish if the case will advance to a full trial.

Mrs McConville was seized by the IRA from her Divis Flats home in west Belfast in 1972 after being wrongly accused of being an informer.

Following her abduction she was shot dead and then secretly buried.

Her body was discovered on a Co Louth beach in 2003.

Bell, from Ramoan Gardens in the Andersonstown district of west Belfast, was arrested and charged in March last year.

The case against him centres on an interview he allegedly gave to US researchers from Boston College who interviewed several former paramilitaries about their roles in the Northern Ireland conflict.

Although transcripts were not to be published until after the deaths of those who took part, a US court ordered the tapes should be handed over to PSNI detectives investigating Mrs McConville’s killing.

It is alleged that Bell is one of the Boston interviewees, given the title Z, who spoke about the circumstances surrounding the decision to abduct her.

A voice analyst has been enlisted as part of the case.

The accused – who is currently on bail – denies any role in events surrounding the murder, claiming he was not even in the city at the time.