Dundalk as it Happens
Man charged with murder of Jean McConville not fit to stand trial, court is told
The veteran republican charged in connection with the IRA’s murder of Jean McConville is not medically fit to stand trial, the High Court in Belfast was told yesterday.
Lawyers for Ivor Bell, 80, who has been diagnosed with dementia, claimed that a trial “could be harmful to his physical and mental health”.
Bell faces two counts of soliciting the IRA abduction and killing of the Belfast mother of 10 in 1972.
On Monday at Belfast Crown Court his defence team launched a legal bid to have the case against him thrown out.
Ciaran Murphy QC, for the Public Prosecution Service, said a trial of facts was in the public interest.
Judge Mr Justice Colton granted both parties one week to make further written submissions.
He said he would reserve his judgment until after he received the submissions.
Mrs McConville, 37, was dragged from her home in Belfast’s Divis flats complex by an IRA gang of up to 12 men and women, and accused of passing information to the British Army – an allegation later discredited by the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman.
She was shot in the back of the head and secretly buried 50 miles from her home, becoming one of the “Disappeared” victims of the Troubles.
Her remains were eventually found on Shelling Hill beach in Co Louth by a member of the public in August 2003.
Nobody has been convicted of her murder.