Northern Ireland

Boston College Project: Winston Rea loses legal challenge

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Media captionWinston Rea is among dozens of loyalists and republicans who provided testimonies to Boston College's Belfast Project, as Mark Simpson reports

A loyalist has lost a legal bid to stop Northern Ireland police getting tapes of interviews he gave to an American university.

Winston Rea was one of dozens of former paramilitaries who provided testimonies to Boston College's Belfast Project.

A judge was told the police needed tapes of Mr Rea's interviews in order to meet a legal duty to probe serious crimes spanning three decades.

Mr Rea had issued proceedings to try to stop the PSNI obtaining the material.

However, on Monday a judge said the police were entitled to seek the tapes as part of an extensive investigation into terrorism.

Mr Rea's legal team is considering taking the case to the Court of Appeal.

The Boston College interviews were given on the understanding that tapes would not be made public until after the deaths of the interviewees.

However, in 2013 detectives investigating the 1972 abduction and murder of Belfast mother-of-10 Jean McConville secured transcripts of former IRA woman Dolours Price's account.

That material was handed over following court battles on both sides of the Atlantic.

Mr Rea, a former loyalist prisoner, had sought to judicially review the Public Prosecution Service's (PPS) attempts to obtain his interviews.

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