Decision not to prosecute Gerry Adams to be reviewed
A decision not to prosecute Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams over allegations that he withheld information on his sex abuser brother is to be reviewed.
Attorney General for Northern Ireland John Larkin has been asked to examine the evidence relating to Liam Adams as he awaits sentencing for six years of rape attacks on his daughter Aine in the 1970s.
The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) revealed it had asked for a review of the case.
A spokesman said: “The Director of Public Prosecutions, Barra McGrory QC, recognises that there has been considerable public interest surrounding the decision not to prosecute Mr Gerry Adams in October 2011 in relation to an allegation that he withheld information in connection with the Liam Adams case.
“While the director has confidence in the evidential decision taken by the PPS prior to his appointment, he has asked the Attorney General to independently review the matter.
“The Attorney General will be given full access to all materials that he considers necessary in order to complete this review.”
The review was launched after Louth TD Gerry Adams said that with hindsight he could have handled the allegations of sexual abuse of his niece by his brother differently.
Liam Adams will be sentenced on November 5 in Belfast after being found guilty by a jury last month.
“There are things perhaps with hindsight that I could have done differently,” Gerry Adams said.
“I’m not on trial here. My brother was on trial. Aine has been vindicated. There is a lot of healing that needs to be done. All of us can look back on episodes like this and be challenged by them and I’m not beyond that.”
Mr Adams claimed that he co-operated fully with authorities in the North in relation to allegations over his brother.
He has insisted that the police were aware of the allegations against his brother as far back as 1987.
Mr Adams has faced criticism for not going to the police sooner after his brother confessed to him in 2000, but did not make a statement to the police until 2009.
He told RTÉ Radio that he did not have the full details of the abuse in 1987 when the police were first notified.
Mr Adams said that, when his niece came back to him and sought an admission from her father, she was an adult and capable of making her own decisions.
He said Aine wanted her father to acknowledge that he abused her.
“I have never hidden away from these issues, I’m a public figure,” Mr Adams said.
During the trial Aine Adams gave graphic details of the abuse, which started when she was four years old.
The first rape she remembers took place while her mother was in hospital giving birth to her younger brother, Conor, in 1977.
The allegations about Liam Adams were first made public when his daughter took part in a television documentary in 2009.
A short time later, Gerry Adams revealed that his father Gerry Snr, a veteran IRA man, had physically and sexually abused members of his family.
He was a witness in the first trial which collapsed earlier this year. He told Belfast Crown Court he confronted his brother when they met in Buncrana, Co Donegal, in 1987 and that Liam Adams had denied the abuse.
He then revealed that his brother later confessed while they were out walking together in the rain in Dundalk, Co Louth, in 2000.
Today, Gerry Adams said: “I have no comment to make in respect of this decision. This is a matter for the legal authorities although I note that the PPS has said it has ‘confidence in the evidential decisions’ previously taken in this case.
“However, it is clear that there are some politicians and elements in the media who have decided to use this issue for opportunistic and party political reasons and who seek to politicise what is at its heart a family tragedy.
“The fact is that I co-operated fully with the PSNI, the PPS and the prosecution lawyers throughout this case.”
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