DUP's justice fears over claim sex case police briefed Gerry Adams
Public confidence in the justice system could be "drastically undermined" by claims that Gerry Adams was briefed by police ahead of giving evidence against his paedophile brother Liam, a member of the Stormont justice committee has warned.
Yesterday the Belfast Telegraph revealed the Police Ombudsman has launched a probe after a complaint was received that details of the police investigation into Liam Adams were discussed between the Sinn Fein president and a PSNI officer while he was a prosecution witness.
Details of the case were also allegedly discussed by an officer during a public meeting. Mr Adams gave evidence against his brother during a Crown Court trial in April last year.
That trial collapsed, but Liam Adams was found guilty during a second trial of raping and sexually assaulting his daughter when she was aged between four and nine.
Mr Adams – who was not called to give evidence during the second trial – said he rejected any suggestions that he was briefed by the PSNI.
However, DUP justice committee member Jim Wells said if the allegations were upheld by the Police Ombudsman it would be "extremely damaging for the justice agencies".
"This is a very serious matter. It is a contempt of court matter. If these allegations are proven to be true I hope that the authorities deal with it appropriately. There can be no special treatment," Mr Wells added.
The Police Ombudsman is also investigating if detectives properly examined whether Mr Adams covered up his brother's crimes by not telling police for nine years that Liam Adams had confessed to child sexual abuse.
In 2011 PSNI officers recommended that the Public Prosecution Service took no action against the Sinn Fein president. During the case, Mr Adams told the court that in 2000 Liam Adams admitted to him that he had sexually assaulted his daughter on one occasion.
It was not until 2009 that Mr Adams told police about his brother's partial confession.
"There is a whiff of special treatment about all of this which, if proven to be true, will undermine public confidence in the justice system. There are a lot of serious questions about this case that cannot be left unanswered. They cannot be brushed under the carpet," said Mr Wells.
"I await the Police Ombudsman's findings with interest," he added.
STORY SO FAR
The Police Ombudsman is investigating a complaint that Gerry Adams was briefed by police before giving evidence in court against his paedophile brother. The probe is into a claim that details of the investigation into Liam Adams, who raped his daughter, were discussed by a police officer with the Sinn Fein leader. Mr Adams said he was unaware of any investigation.