Bell, 78, from Ramoan Gardens in West Belfast, was arrested in March of last year and charged with IRA affiliation and aiding and abetting in McConville’s abduction and murder.
The key piece of evidence against Bell is the interview he reportedly gave to the failed Boston College Oral History Project.
The paramilitaries were told the tapes would only be made public after their deaths. However, after a series of court cases in the U.S., some of the content was handed over to the Northern Ireland authorities last year.
The prosecution alleges Bell said on the tapes, “Well, [McConville’s] a tout and the fact she’s a woman shouldn’t save her.”
McConville was taken from her home in front of her 10 children, interrogated and murdered by a group of 12 IRA men and women in December 1972. She became known as one of “The Disappeared,” those whose bodies weren’t recovered for years afterwards. McConville’s remains were found on a beach in Co. Louth in August 2003.
The IRA claimed she was an informer, although that was later dismissed after an investigation by the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman.
Michael and Suzanna, two of McConville’s children, were in the public gallery for the deliberation, and their brothers Thomas and James were also present.
“We are just glad the way it has went,” Michael commented after the trial. “It’s in the hands of the court and police now. We are just waiting to see the outcome and will just keep an open mind until then.”
Bell, who was granted bail after this initial arrest last year, was released again on continuing bail.
He will be back in court in six weeks time.
Bell has denied all charges. His lawyer, Peter Corrigan, commented that due to Bell’s advanced age and ill health, he has the right to a fast trial.
“In those circumstances, bearing in mind his age and his health issues, he’s entitled to a speedy trial,” he said.