Belfast Telegraph

Gerry Adams Press complaint about Belfast Telegraph story is rejected

Our story over allegations linked to brother's abuse trial justified

By Steven Alexander

A complaint by Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams to the Press industry watchdog about a story in the Belfast Telegraph has been thrown out.

Mr Adams had asked the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) to investigate after our story revealed allegations that the Louth TD had been briefed by police about the case against his paedophile brother Liam Adams before he gave evidence against him at trial.

The Police Ombudsman had launched a probe into claims by Liam Adams' second wife that information about the PSNI investigation was discussed with the Sinn Fein president ahead of trial.

Mr Adams gave evidence for the prosecution during his brother's trial in April last year. That trial collapsed, but Liam Adams was found guilty after a second trial of raping and sexually assaulting his daughter when she was aged between four and nine in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Gerry Adams was not called to give evidence at the second trial.

Mr Adams complained that he considered the article to have been inaccurate and misleading, and that he had not been given a chance to reply. But yesterday the PCC said there had been no breaches of the Editors' Code of Practice.

It said there had been an attempt to get a response from Mr Adams, which was submitted seven hours later. Mr Adams' rejection that he was briefed by the PSNI was published in the print edition of this newspaper, and the PCC said it was "satisfied that sufficient care had been taken before the articles were published".

The PCC said it had not been established that there were any inaccuracies in the article.

The PCC's report also stated that Mr Adams accepted that "the allegation that a prominent British and Irish politician, and witness in a criminal trial, was "coached" by the police, and received an inappropriate or improper briefing, was serious, and one which it was in the public interest for the newspaper to have reported".

It added: "The newspaper did not adopt the allegations as its own, and it would have been clear to readers that – at the time of publication – the claims remained unproven. Taking this into account, the commission did not establish a breach of the code."

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