Belfast Telegraph

Norris reveals letters legal advice

Presidential hopeful David Norris has claimed legal advice is standing in the way of him disclosing controversial clemency letters he wrote for an ex-partner convicted of statutory rape.

The Senator said he would examine the possibility of reading the correspondence into the Seanad record but lawyers had warned him against their publication.

Mr Norris made appeals to Israeli authorities on behalf of his former partner Ezra Nawi, who was found guilty of the rape of a 15-year-old Palestinian boy in the late 1990s.

On the first day of campaigning after nominations closed, the renowned academic and Joycean scholar said the legal case was held in camera (in private hearing) and he had been told by Irish and Israeli lawyers that he should not reveal unpublished letters he wrote appealing on behalf of Nawi.

"I have been legally advised that I could prejudice the situation if I revealed information because this was held in camera," he said.

"This was legal advice, I abide by it."

Taoiseach Enda Kenny increased the pressure on the Senator to ignore his legal advice and reveal the details of all the clemency letters.

"I think this is a case of where the people are going to have their say about who they want to represent this country in Aras an Uachtarain," the Taoiseach said.

Meanwhile Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness said he would bring his skills honed while working with unionists in Northern Ireland during the peace process to the presidency if elected on October 27.

He said he wanted to further open up the Aras to unionists and victims of conflict, accelerating the work started by President Mary McAleese and her husband Martin, while giving leadership at a time of unprecedented selfishness and greed.

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