Belfast Telegraph

Friday 21 November 2014

Chief prosecutor was my former solicitor, Gerry Adams confirms

Barra McGrory, Director of the Northern Ireland Public Prosecution Service
Barra McGrory, Director of the Northern Ireland Public Prosecution Service
Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams at the launch of the Sinn Fein Budget for 2014 at the Royal College of Physicians, Dublin.
Aine Dahlstrom
Paedophile Liam Adams

Gerry Adams has confirmed that Northern Ireland's current Director of Public Prosecutions was his solicitor in 2007 – at a time when the Sinn Fein leader had neglected to inform police about his paedophile brother.

Mr Adams acknowledged that the head of the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) of Northern Ireland, Barra McGrory, was his legal adviser when he was interviewed by police investigating sex abuse allegations against his brother Liam.

Asked if he was concerned about the Attorney General's inquiry, Mr Adams said that he "generally goes with the flow".

Liam Adams (58) was convicted last week of raping and sexually assaulting his daughter, Aine Dahlstrom, over a six-year period between 1977 and 1983.

Mr McGrory has now asked for an independent review of his own office's 2011 decision not to prosecute Adams for withholding information.

It emerged Liam Adams had confided in Gerry Adams with an admission of guilt in 2000 but the Sinn Fein leader did not report this at the time.

The Attorney General for Northern Ireland, John Larkin, will be given full access to all the necessary records and documents on the case to complete the review.

Separately, Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire will investigate claims that detectives did not properly investigate the situation.

PSNI officers made a recommendation to the PPS that no prosecution be taken against Gerry Adams.

Mr McGrory was not in charge at the time of the PPS decision not to prosecute Gerry Adams.

But it emerged that in his previous role as a solicitor, he personally represented the Sinn Fein leader.

A PPS spokesperson said: "I can confirm that he (McGrory) was Mr Adams' solicitor in 2007."

She continued: "As Mr McGrory is now the Director of Public Prosecutions, it would not be appropriate for him to comment on any communication he had with a former client.

"On his appointment (as DPP) Mr McGrory drew attention to this (Adams case) and a number of other cases in which he was involved."

The spokeswoman stressed again that the former solicitor "took no prosecutorial decision" in relation to whether Gerry Adams should have been charged with the criminal offence of withholding information from police.

She said the decision was taken in October 2011, which was before Mr McGrory's appointment to the office.

At the launch of Sinn Fein's pre-Budget submission yesterday in Dublin, Mr Adams confirmed that Mr McGrory had previously acted as his solicitor.

He said the review was a matter for the judicial authorities.

Mr Adams criticised politicians and "elements in the media" who, he said, wanted to politicise a family tragedy.

Mr Adams singled out the Democratic Unionists and the main opposition party in the Irish Republic, Fianna Fail.

"I do take exception to the quite despicable lobbying that's going on," he said.

"I learned that the DUP, at least some of the DUP, and indeed some in Fianna Fail, are coming at this in a political way.

"So I totally and absolutely reject that.

"But I try to be measured in how I deal with all of this, to be sensible and reasonable."

He also said that he has had to deal with other cases of alleged sex abuse in Louth, his constituency in the Republic, and in his native west Belfast.

"If a minor had been involved, I have told them that I have to report it to the PSNI or An Garda Siochana, and that they should do the same," he said.

Mr Adams added: "With historical or legacy cases of abuse, when adults come to you, my best advice to them is to get counselling, to take advice from the professionals, to mind themselves.

"And if they want to go to the police on these matters I would support them in that.

"I'm making a distinction between minors and adults.

"Minors are different from adults in that adults are capable of making their own decisions on how to deal with the issue. Minors deserve our protection and support."

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