No sign yet of smoking gun in the Adams case

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?

The police file has still to be sent to the PPS

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.

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  • Morpheus

    No, no smoking gun but we knew that anyway – this was a nothing more than box-ticking exercise so the PSNI can say that they at least tried their best with a ‘Hail Mary’ considering they had ‘no evidence of any kind.’ Looks like he might not need the “Public Interest Defense” after all.

  • Son of Strongbow

    Various Shinnerbots are contending that Jarry was arrested without any suspicion and evidence to back it up.

    Why then is Jarry not making a complaint about wrongful arrest? He has said he is making a complaint to PONI about “one aspect of the interviews” but why no complaint about being arrested and held in the first place?

    Also why no Shinner concerns about a judge agreeing to the police request for an extension to his detention? Did the judge support further detention without the police being able to establish an evidential need to warrant further questioning?

  • Morpheus

    Gerry Adams volunteered himself for questioning and knew before he set foot in the station that he would be arrested as per standard procedure in murder inquiries so why would he complain about the arrest itself?

    Your second question is a good one – on what basis did the judge grant the extension if they was no evidence? Maybe the PSNI made a good case that they were close to ‘breaking’ him? Who knows?

  • Son of Strongbow

    You, as normal, are a little hazy about how the law works. The police have to have evidence to arrest someone. That requirement is not mitigated because the subject of the arrest is agreeable to being arrested.

    Again “standard procedure” does not empower police to arrest without evidence.

    The Human Rights Act tends to take a dim view of cops who arrest folks just because, allegedly, they simply don’t like the cut of their jib.

    Again nationalist fantasies about the judiciary obviously holds sway for some. I suspect that they can imagine a conversation that goes;

    Cop: we’ve nothing on this guy but he’s just about to cough your honour, I can feel it in my water.

    Judge: ok officer go for it.

    In reality a judge must be satisfied that the police have evidence that warrants the detention and be convinced by the police case that further detention and questioning is appropriate, i.e. that the police are pursuing an evidence line and not simply having a “discussion” about the ‘good old days’ for the “optics”.

  • Morpheus

    *rolls eyes*

    The police can arrest someone if they have reasonable grounds to suspect they have been involved in a crime – they do not, as you say “have to have evidence to arrest someone” – reasonable suspicion is enough. Ever hear the phrase “I am arresting you on suspicion of…”?

    Remind me, what was that you were saying about how the law works again?

    I don’t know if you want a gold star for repeating the same point again but you still right, we don’t know on what basis the judge granted the extension.

  • Morpheus

    The headline says it all for me: “No sign yet of smoking gun in the Adams case”

    Here’s me think that this was the McConville case. But as I said yesterday, watch how they are dropped like a hot potato when the realization kicks in that they are of no further use in the ongoing, monotonous ‘Get Gerry’ saga.

    Interesting thread today from Jude Collins showing how some victims are more ‘useful’ than others, well worth a read:

  • Son of Strongbow

    Thanks for the confirmation. I always suspected you of being a swivel-eyed loon.

    What do you think makes grounds to suspect someone ‘reasonable’?

    Do you believe ‘reasonable grounds’ to be an ethereal nebulous concept? Or perhaps these reasonable grounds are something (I’ll avoid the ‘e’ word) that actually exist, something that may ultimately be tested in a court?

  • Raymonds Back

    Can someone ask Mick to acknowledge now the sound reasons Gerry Adams has always had for denying being a member of the IRA? i.e. somebody might then pop up and charge him with IRA membership. Although it is beyond me what purpose there is in charging anyone with membership of an organisation which no longer exists.

  • Morpheus

    What are you waffling about? You made a statement, it was shown to be incorrect – move on, it happens. Remember Denis Healey’s first law of holes.

    (Word of advice, don’t use language on a forum that you wouldn’t use in everyday life, it makes you look like a dick)

  • Son of Strongbow

    “You made a statement, it was shown to be incorrect….”


  • mac tire

    “Thanks for the confirmation. I always suspected you of being a swivel-eyed loon.”
    This is exactly what is wrong with this place – lack of respect for people. Man playing at it’s best. SOS obviously feels he has lost the argument at this point.

  • tacapall

    “i.e. that the police are pursuing an evidence line and not simply having a “discussion” about the ‘good old days’ for the “optics”.

    Really, what happened here then ?

    “19.6 During the course of this meeting, DS Brown asked Barrett directly who murdered Patrick Finucane. Barrett’s reply was “hypothetically, me”. In addition, during the course of the ensuing conversation, Barrett provided the officers with considerable detail about the circumstances of the murder of Patrick Finucane that was found to closely match aspects of the offence revealed by the police enquiries and the examination of the crime scene. The cumulative effect of the detail supplied by Barrett left DS Brown in no doubt whatsoever that he had been a party to the murder of Mr Finucane”

    “19.10 On Tuesday 27 July 1999 Barrett was arrested by the Stevens III Investigation team on suspicion of the murder of Patrick Finucane. Upon being cautioned he made no reply and remained largely silent throughout a series of interviews. When questioned in detail about information he had provided to DS Brown, DC McIlwrath and DC R/06 at the meeting of 3 October 1991, he exercised his right to silence. After his arrest his fingerprints were taken. On 30 July 1999 Kenneth Barrett was released without charge”

    “19.11 On 13 October 1999 Barrett was re-arrested by the Stevens III Investigation team as his left thumbprint had been found on a photograph recovered from intelligence material linked to Brian Nelson.

    19.12 Photographs of the kind on which Barrett’s print was found were an essential part of the material put together by the UDA for the purpose of targeting republican paramilitaries for assassination. Barrett was interviewed in the light of this new evidence, but once again declined to answer any questions. He was again released without charge”

    So how come Gerry Adams can be arrested for hearsay yet a self confessed murderer can walk free ?

  • Son of Strongbow

    Are you referring to Ken Barrett? Was he not convicted and sentenced for the Finucane murder in and around 2003, or did he as you contend “walk free”?

    It seems a bit dodgy linking the likes of Barrett with Adams to make a point about Adams.

    mac t,

    I’m not too bothered about you complaining about my remarking on another poster’s self-reported ‘rolling eyes’ issue. As to my losing the argument, again, whatever personal belief keeps you happy is fine with me too.

  • MonkDeWallyDeHonk

    Son of Strongbow

    “are a little hazy about how the law works” – why don’t you educate us all stupid uppity taigs about how the law works if you’re so clever.

  • tacapall

    “Was he not convicted and sentenced for the Finucane murder in and around 2003, or did he as you contend “walk free”

    Maybe you didn’t look closely at the dates SOS –

    When questioned in detail about information he had provided to DS Brown, DC McIlwrath and DC R/06 at the meeting of 3 October 1991

    On Tuesday 27 July 1999 Barrett was arrested by the Stevens III Investigation team on suspicion of the murder of Patrick Finucane. – released without charge

    13 October 1999 Barrett was re-arrested by the Stevens III Investigation team – released without charge.

    Can you see the bigger picture now ?

    If hearsay is enough to get anyone arrested why is this man not being arrested and charged in connection with the murder of Patrick Finucane –


    Jim Spence – who was codenamed ‘SENTINEL’ in security force circles – will not be unmasked as the top British intelligence agent who organised the assassination of the solicitor on the orders of his intelligence handlers.

  • Son of Strongbow

    So Barrett didn’t “walk free” as you first announced? Your beef is about the length of time it took for the law to catch up with him?

    Personally I’m a patient man. I don’t mind waiting a while from initial arrest to prison time, no matter who the arrested person is………….


    I’m not sure wether you’re applying that rather crude sobriquet to yourself or Morph. If it is yourself you appear to have some self esteem issues; if its Morph he may wish to respond to you, or not; but whatever it’s a matter for him.

    As to providing online educational resources to you it is not really my role, and anyway I doubt you could afford my fees.

    I’m just a simple Human Rights Activist doing my little bit to challenge the inequalities of the world.

  • tacapall

    “Personally I’m a patient man. I don’t mind waiting a while from initial arrest to prison time, no matter who the arrested person is………….”

    Yes I can imagine the uproar from the likes of yourself if Adams or any republican admitted they had any part in the Jean McConville murder and they were allowed to walk free for over 8 years to do more of the same before the British government was forced due to international pressure to intervene and have him brought before the courts. But then whats new when it came to the RUC and loyalist murderers quid pro quo an all that.

  • Son of Strongbow

    My last on this, interacting with you quickly becomes rather tiresome.

    My “uproar” isn’t worth a ball of spit.

    Also I’m not in possession of the all-seeing eye you are blessed with that can, at one and the same time, ‘see’ that Dear Leader was arrested on hearsay alone and ‘see’ that police investigations, in the present as well as in the past, start and stop on the basis of some Machiavellian police inner circle/ Dark Side/Brit black ops conspiracy.

    I suggest to you, as I believe I have in the past, take your evidence to the PONI, the Police Board or whoever. If you have the confidence in your position you claim, and intimate knowledge of these issues you will know the names of the living serving/retired police officers (and the DPP/PPS, legal officers etc who ‘allowed’ these things to go on) who were investigating the cases.

    Announce your intentions to the media beforehand and get a journalist to go along to ensure you get maximum publicity for your ‘damning’ dossier.

    If it all works out for you and cops and loyalists (strangely you omit nationalists) are put before a court I will cheer as loudly if such alleged lawbreakers are convicted as I would if He Who Must Not Be Dissed is found to have a case to answer.

    At the moment all you are doing is pi@@ing into the wind, at best linking to Guardian articles full of perhaps and maybes.

  • babyface finlayson

    Raymonds Back
    I was wondering when was the last time anyone was charged with membership as a standalone charge?
    Anybody know? Or am I a swivel-eyed loon for asking.

  • tacapall

    “My last on this, interacting with you quickly becomes rather tiresome”

    Yawn ….. The usual response from you to an awkward question or fact about the RUC, rather than proving otherwise you come across all Peter Robinsony like sticking your head in the sand and pretending you cant see the truth in front of your nose, there was no perhaps or maybe’s for your government when it was admitted in the British parliament by your own prime minister that collusion was no illusion, are those three police officers who witnessed and recorded Ken Barratts confession liars ?

  • babyface,

    Very recently. In fact 4 people who were so charged had their cases stayed today.

  • carlota martinez

    I think you’ll find Joe that the case against the accused was not “stayed” but rather the Judge directed that verdicts of “not guilty” be entered on the basis that the Prosecution was offering no evidence.

  • Comrade Stalin


    “are a little hazy about how the law works” – why don’t you educate us all stupid uppity taigs about how the law works if you’re so clever.

    SoS has been busy doing exactly that. I think some people might be blinded by his not-o-subtle hostility to nationalism, but if you look past that it’s pretty obvious he is speaking from experience.

    Very recently I’ve been a victim of crime (all rather unpleasant, but I’m fine) and my experience lines up. The police have a educated guess of who committed the crime, and there’s a good chance that the guess is right, but they tell me they cannot arrest him or even hover around outside of his house as this could be taken as harassment. They have to have something specific so that, if/when held accused of wrongful arrest and held accountable, they can support their actions.

    Arresting someone on suspicion of a crime doesn’t mean you get to define what “suspicion” means. A judge has to agree that any reasonable person in the same circumstances would take the same view. So if an assault takes place they can’t just lift anyone they find within a 30 metre radius of the event. They have to say, for example, “I arrested the man when I found blood on his hand and noticed his shirt was torn” etc.

    The only complaint I would have about the police in general is that I think they’re falling back on “human rights” a bit more often than strictly they should be (and this was a theme of the judicial review concerning illegal parades a couple of weeks back). It’s just too much of a convenient fallback in the event that they don’t really want to bother doing anything or getting involved. It’s frustrating to go along to policing/community safety partnerships where you’ll get a jaded officer telling you “unfortunately it’s a society problem”. I already know crime is a society problem, that’s why we have police in the first place. It’s also frustrating to watch a riot developing in a low-end housing estate where the police sit back on the perimeter, turning away people and traffic, but allowing the riot to essentially continue until the rioters have run out of fuel or material, at which point they typically make their escape while the police pack up and go home with no arrests made.

    I do not necessarily blame the police for this. They’re surrounded by serious criminal elements on one side and a coterie of politicians who complain, bitch and moan about whatever it is they do. It’s easy to see why it’s just as easy for them to sit back and do nothing in the hope that this compels the politicians to step up and decide which side they’re on.

    regarding the problem of lads knocking about wheeling old wooden palettes away to the nearest bonfire, theft is obviously going to be a problem if nobody is likely to claim ownership (similarly with old tyres). The only way to deal with that one is going to be to create new criminal offences in connection with possessing material with the intention of burning it or erecting an unlawful structure for burning, etc. Doubt that’ll get through the assembly any time soon.

  • Correct Carlota. I got hung up on the bit where a prosecuting Attorney initially asked that the charges be left on the book. The Judge, as you say, refused and entered not guilty for the 4 men.

  • babyface finlayson

    Thanks for that.
    It looks though that they were accused of other charges too including making threats and organising meetings of a proscribed organisation.
    What I’m getting at is would anyone now or even since the OTR letters be charged solely with being a member of the IRA if they were not active?
    Such a charge against Gerry could surely only have been a fallback.

  • babyface,
    I remember that there was one other case where that indeed did happen maybe 6 months ago but it may have been in the Republic.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Comrade Stalin

    “regarding the problem of lads knocking about wheeling old wooden palettes away to the nearest bonfire, theft”

    If the person is taking new palettes to a bonfire in the middle of a city then the police person has a reasonable suspicion that the pallet has been stolen. They then can take steps to question the person and if their answers are not satisfactory then take action.

    The same thing applies to car Tyres.

  • Brian,

    I’m a bit puzzled as to why my second information comment for babyface has been removed. I know that the rules do not require that an explanation be given but I would appreciate one. You (or whomsover) can use my gmail account and also remove this comment.

  • Thank you someone. My comment is now out of “awaiting moderation”.

  • Comrade Stalin


    Your expert contributions on the issue of policing and crime in recent months have included :

    – the idea that Alliance members should go into neighbourhoods with a strong paramilitary presence and remove flags

    – the suggestion that the PSNI should wade into a 1000 strong crowd who are riotously assembled, and detain each participant individually to be photographed before being permitted to proceed

    – the notion that the PSNI are controlled by, and are accountable to, David Ford and/or the DoJ. That one is my personal favourite.

    I will add your latest proposal to my list.

  • Mc Slaggart


    Apparently you do not think David Ford is responsible for his set themes.

    “David Ford has set out a number of themes which encompass the key roles of the Department.

    These are:

    Safer, Shared Communities – working to help build communities with lower levels of crime and anti-social behaviour, where everyone’s rights are respected, including examining steps than can be taken to address problems at interfaces.”