Gerry Adams relying on some extremely fine distinctions in law to get past the AG?

Gerry Moriarty in the Irish Times yesterday notes the inconsistency of Gerry Adams various stories in relation to what he knew about his brothers abuse of his daughter and when.

There are two versions of the truth at play. What Gerry says he knew (and when) and what Aine and her mother say he was told (and when). Here’s some highlights from Moriarty:

It emerged during both the collapsed and completed trials that as far back as 1987 Adams was aware of the abuse allegation against his brother – an allegation Liam Adams denied that same year when confronted by the Sinn Féin leader.

As Adams said in the first trial (he wasn’t called to give evidence in the second trial), it was in 2000 during a long walk in the rain in Dundalk that his brother admitted the abuse to him, saying it only happened on one occasion.

When in 2006 Áine Adams reactivated her 1987 allegation Gerry Adams went to the police in 2007 to give a statement – but did not tell them about the 2000 admission by his brother. As McDermott said it took another “two years and four months” before he did tell the PSNI about that admission.[emphasis added]

This is important, because it has been consistently misreported since the end of the trial.  In April Adams was very keen to tell the court that his solicitor (who is now the DPP) told him in 2007 that he had plenty of time to make a second statement (by the looks of it, an attempt to shed blame from himself to his counsel for the delay).

That second statement came two years later, in which Adams had said he had  a number of conversations with Liam between 2001-2007 in which his brother had admitted to him what he’d done.

The reference to Dundalk, the rain and 200o only came in a written statement to the court this year, and contradicts what he told the police in 2009. The written statement was made during the trial in April this year (with Richard McAuley in the room but not helping, apparently).

Then just days later he admits that he cannot be sure it happened in 2000, or any time. So it turns out that most of the statements made by the Sinn Fein leader have proven to be nothing more than provisionally true.

And that’s only going on what Adams himself says. But as Suzanne Breen notes most of Adams responses from 2007 onwards appear designed to keep himself out of legal difficulties:

Both Aine and her mother Sally Campbell have stated that from 1987 – before they all visited Buncrana to confront his brother – Mr Adams knew the precise detail of the allegations against Liam including how he had raped Aine.

The Sinn Féin president denied this and said he didn’t hear of the rape allegations for 20 years. He told Belfast Crown Court at his brother’s first trial in April that Liam had confessed in 2000 that he “sexually assaulted, molested” Aine and had said it “only happened once”. He did not say that Liam ever confessed to raping Aine.[emphasis added]

It’s might have been an odd distinction in terms of what happened at the time, but it makes considerable sense now in respect of the decision facing the current Attorney General. Breen explains:

The Criminal Law Act (Northern Ireland) 1967 states that it is an offence for a person to withhold information about a crime. But the crime involved must be an arrestable offence carrying a sentence of five or more years’ imprisonment.

This is further clarified by the Police and Criminal Evidence Order 2007. When Liam Adams abused Aine between 1977 and 1983, rape carried a sentence of over five years and so a person withholding information about it would be open to prosecution.

However, sexual assault carried a sentence of two years’ imprisonment during the period that Aine was abused, legal experts have said.

It was therefore not an arrestable offence meeting the five year tariff as set out by law. So someone admitting they didn’t tell police about sexual assault – as opposed to rape – is unlikely to be prosecuted for withholding information.[emphasis added]

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  • socaire

    ……….. and the wheels on the bus ………..

  • Dixie Elliott

    And when Gerry is not arrested nor charged with withholding information the shinners will take to the streets and world wide web cheering that their leader has been vindicated.

    No…No…NO! We don’t want to hear about him allowing his paedophile brother to remain in SF.

    No…No…NO! We don’t want to know if his paedophile brother was allowed to move around community centers.

    No…No…NO! We don’t care that in an act of vile vengeance Gerry reported Aine’s mother to social services in regards to hygiene and nits.

    No…No…NO! So what if he singled his brother out above the rest of his family for a special mention in his autobiography despite the fact he knew he was a rapist and paedophile.

    No…No…NO! And what’s the big deal about giving that autobiography to the person his brother raped and abused knowing the first page she would open she would read about him thanking all his brothers and sisters – especially that rapist?

    Gerry is our leader, we shall not be moved!!

  • Drumlins Rock

    The “alledged” confession of sexual abuse would still be relevant evidence in a rape case surely?

  • ArdoyneUnionist

    “Move along there, nothing to see here”. The latest statement from Connolly house on this matter.

  • toaster

    Gerry Adams is a good man, the chief victim in this whole saga, and should not be subject to the torture of inane articles full of innuendo such as this.

  • Zig70

    The chief victim? That’s a poor comment where child abuse is the subject.

  • Dixie Elliott


    In April past, under cross-examination Gerry Adams said he was engaged in the peace process in 1987.

    Aine Adams went to the RUC in 1987 and told them that her father, the brother of Gerry Adams raped her… they weren’t interested.

    Eight IRA volunteers died in an SAS ambush at Loughgall on 8 May 1987.

    According to the De Silva report: In May 1987 (the same month as Loughgall) Brian Nelson and FRU saved Gerry Adams life.

    Below I’ve put a piece taken from an article on Brian Nelson and collusion…

    “There is other evidence suggesting that the FRU was acutely aware of the secret progress being made in the peace process at around this time. Steaknife was not the only IRA figure whose life the unit saved.

    Thanks to Brian Nelson, Army intelligence learnt that the UDA planned to kill Mr Adams by placing a limpet mine on the roof of his armoured car as he was being driven in Belfast. FRU arranged for the limpet mine to be discovered in a routine security search and Mr Adams lived to deliver the IRA ceasefires.

    Writing about this incident later in his private journal, Brian Nelson said that his handlers had told him that assassinating Mr Adams would have been “totally counterproductive. Adams and his supporters were committed to following the political path.”

    Taken from an interesting article by By Ed Moloney:

  • Alias

    You have to wonder, given that Gerry Adams was clearly briefed by legal experts regarding the level of knowledge he could admit to and safely avoid prosecution under The Criminal Law Act (Northern Ireland) 1967, why he was advised, or chose, to make the admission of knowledge at all?

    Liam Adams denied that he confessed to his brother, so who else could incriminate Gerry Adams if Liam did confess to him? It was never likely that Liam Adams would self-incriminate by confirming his brother’s claims. Why then did Gerry Adams claim that he had a confession from his brother? Was it just to dump his brother into a deep pile in order to save his own skin? If it was, it was ill-advised since the public would not distinguish between a child molester and a child rapist as the law would do.

    Back when Liam Adams had fled the UK to a foreign jurisdiction (Ireland), Gerry also dumped his brother into a deep pile by claiming that he believed his niece’s allegations of sexual abuse against his brother. It looked at the time that that was a ruse that would allow Liam Adams to claim that he wouldn’t get a fair trial in Northern Ireland and to thereby avoid extradition. But the EAW procedure is predicated on an assumption that the courts of all member states will only conduct fair trials so he could never win that kind of appeal – as a well-briefed Gerry Adams would have known.

    Did Liam confess to him? He contradicted himself in the transcripts about when the confession(s) first occurred so his testimony wasn’t reliable. But how could he be so well-briefed about the law while so egregiously ill-prepared with his own testimony?

  • Charles_Gould

    It is now surely time for Gerry Adams to step aside and let Mary Lou take over. With Doherty’s star on the decline, Mary Lou would be a far better leader than Gerry Adams and she would be very good at the negotiations to get SF into coalition with FF.

  • aquifer

    Being in and around courtrooms is not good. The longer this goes on the more time people have to consider the difference between the law and justice and legally innocent and blameless. Given the bloody history of his movement, it is not good to be portrayed there.

    And in these matters British justice could be better than Irish, giving a militant separatist no comfort at all.

  • babyface finlayson

    “Did Liam confess to him?”
    I wonder about that too. You say Liam denied such a confession.Is that documented?
    A confession suggests some degree of self knowledge and awareness that he did wrong and presumably a desire to change.
    Yet he went on to work with other children,which is not the behaviour of someone who wants to avoid further temptation.

  • Alias

    “Is that documented?”


  • Alias

    Also, if Gerry Adams did have a confession of sexual abuse (even excluding rape), the significance of it is explained in the linked article:

    During cross examination of PSNI Detective Inspector Eamon Corrigan, who was the lead interviewing officer in 2007, the defence lawyer said a confession was of critical importance and would have been seen as a major breakthrough in the investigation.

    “This was a potentially explosive piece of evidence coming from a man of international standing,” Joe Brolly told the court.

    Mr Corrigan replied: “If a person had that knowledge it would be important regardless of the person’s standing.”

    His failure to report, therefore, prevented a “major breakthrough in the investigation.”

  • Droch_Bhuachaill

    As a republican, I want Gerry to step aside to allow time for a full open transparent investigation into his knowledge. I don’t want the movement to be led by, and damaged by, a man who is under the suspicion of facilitating a child abuser. If cleared, he would be welcomed back

    As a father, my contempt for child abusers is only equalled by by comtempt for those who do nothing to report this abuse.

  • Dixie Elliott

    Droch_Bhuachaill this is only the tip of the iceberg…

  • babyface finlayson

    Thanks for the link

  • Charles_Gould

    Perhaps he should do as Peter Robinson did – hand over to Mary Lou for a period of 12 months while the police investigate all child abuse protection allegations against him.

  • Salvo

    The route Gerry Adams has decided to go with this whole tragic affair, is an unfortunate one. His handling bears simularities to those of the catholic church. By sating he had no knowledge of a rape having occurred only opens the door to more trauma for the victim of the abuse. At some point the victim and her mother will be faced with the question as to what Gerry Adams was told by them in 1987. Gerry Adams had a responsibility to Aine and to all minors to do all he could to ensure his brother Liam was no longer a threat to children. Gerry Adams failed to do this by his silence. We all have a resposibility to protect and nurture are children. That responsibility trumps all other considerations. Gerry Adams needs to take time to reflect on were he is driving this by his continuous denials. He needs to accept that he didn’t pursue statutory obligations.

  • GEF

    Suzanne Breen is really getting stuck in to Gerry now. You would think he was the one who abused his niece instead of her father Laim. At present his brother, is sitting in quietly in jail waiting to be sentenced.

    Analysis: ‘Paedophile revelations wound Gerry Adams as never before’

    ‘The unravelling of Gerry Adams’