Northern Ireland news

Allegations of jury tampering in Ivor Bell case

Jean McConville pictured with three of her ten children shortly before she disappeared in 1972.

A jury in the Ivor Bell trial was dismissed due to allegations of tampering by way of threats being made against at least one of the jurors.

The Irish News understands that a member of the jury reported being approached on October 7 and told that they should 'reach the right verdict'. This resulted in the entire jury being dismissed and a new one appointed.

Mr Bell had been charged with encouraging persons to murder mother-of-ten Jean McConville.

The case was subject to strict reporting restrictions lifted by Mr Justice O'Hara yesterday after the jury were instructed to find the veteran republican not guilty.

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The case took place in Mr Bell's absence after he was deemed medically unfit to stand trial and is thought to be the first paramilitary related jury trial since the introduction of the Diplock system in 1973.

A spokesperson for the Lord Chief Justice office confirmed the original jury was discharged "after the judge advised something had been said to at least one of them the previous day".

"The matter has been reported to the police".

A spokesperson for the PSNI said "police received a report that a comment had been made to a member of the jury ... the matter has been closed pending any further evidence".

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