Gerry Adams uses a column in the Guardian to describe and comment on his interrogation.
I was told that the interrogations were an evidence-gathering process, and that the police would be making the case that I was a member of the IRA; that I had a senior IRA managerial role in Belfast at the time of Jean McConville’s abduction; and that I was therefore bound to know about her killing. I challenged my interrogators to produce the new evidential material. They said that this would happen at a later interview.
Over the following four days it became clear that the objective of the interviews was to get to the point where they could charge me with IRA membership and thereby link me to the McConville case.
The allegation of conspiracy in the killing of Mrs McConville is based almost exclusively on hearsay from unnamed alleged Boston College interviewees but mainly from the late Dolours Price and Brendan Hughes. Other alleged interviewees were identified only by a letter of the alphabet, eg interviewee R or Y. It has been claimed by prosecutors in court that one of these is Ivor Bell, although the interrogators told me he has denied the allegations.
During my interrogation, no new evidential material, indeed no evidence of any kind, was produced. When I was being released I made a formal complaint about aspects of my interrogation. My arrest and the very serious attempt to charge me with IRA membership is damaging to the peace process and the political institutions.
From Gerry Adams’ own account, was it worth it?
Adds While Malachi O’Doherty is against prosecution on public interest grounds he believes
on the key question of whether a successful prosecution for IRA membership in the past could be brought against Gerry Adams, the answer is probably yes.
I doubt this. If so the PPS would be blazing a trail. There is I’m advised very little legal academic discussion of what constitute evidence of membership other than agreement that it’s notoriously hard to prove. The word of a police officer these days won’t do and if the authorities were to proceed with membership alone they would expect to be subject to judicial review.
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London