Police briefed Gerry Adams on paedophile brother Liam's case before trial: claim
The Police Ombudsman is investigating an allegation that Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams was briefed by police about details of the case against his paedophile brother before he gave evidence against him at trial.
The Belfast Telegraph understands that the Ombudsman is probing a claim that details of the PSNI investigation into Liam Adams, who was later found guilty of raping and sexually abusing his daughter, were discussed by a police officer with the Sinn Fein leader before he gave evidence against his brother at a Crown Court trial.
If the allegation was to be upheld, it could result in the officer being disciplined and could also constitute contempt of court.
Gerry Adams gave evidence for the prosecution during his brother's 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, Aine Dahlstrom, when she was aged between four and nine in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Gerry Adams was not called to give evidence during the second trial.
Liam Adams was handed a 16- year sentence, half of which he is expected to spend behind bars.
The Belfast Telegraph has learned that in recent weeks Liam Adams' second wife Bronagh made a complaint to the Police Ombudsman's office alleging that information about the PSNI investigation was discussed with the Sinn Fein president ahead of trial.
It has also been claimed that details of the case were discussed by an officer during a public meeting.
A source close to the Liam Adams investigation said that the west Belfast man's wife made the complaint as she believed it led to an unfair trial.
If upheld, it is understood that the complaint to the Police Ombudsman could form part of the basis of Liam Adams' appeal against his conviction.
The Police Ombudsman could not go into any details about the complaint as the investigation is ongoing, but a spokesman said: "We received a complaint that information about an ongoing police investigation was discussed with a witness in the case and also at a public meeting."
He added: "The Police Ombudsman is now investigating that complaint."
The PSNI said it would be inappropriate to comment on the complaint as it is under investigation by the Police Ombudsman.
The Belfast Telegraph attempted to contact Gerry Adams, but he was not available for comment.
DUP Policing Board member Jonathan Craig described the Ombudsman probe as a worrying development.
He said: "I do not want to prejudice the Ombudsman's investigation but it would be an incredibly worrying development if it was upheld.
"The Ombudsman must investigate every aspect of what is alleged to have occurred, especially to discover whether this alleged exchange was instigated by the police or by Gerry Adams."
In a separate probe, the Police Ombudsman is also investigating if detectives properly examined whether Gerry Adams covered up his brother's crimes by not telling police for nine years that Liam Adams had confessed to child sex abuse.
In 2011 PSNI officers recommended that the Public Prosecution Service take no action against the Sinn Fein president.
Both the first and the second completed trial raised serious questions for Gerry Adams. It emerged that as far back as 1987 the Sinn Fein leader was aware of the abuse allegation against his brother – an allegation Liam Adams denied that same year when confronted by his brother in Buncrana, Co Donegal.
Giving evidence during the first trial, Mr Adams told the court that in 2000 Liam Adams admitted to him he had sexually assaulted his daughter on one occasion.
It was not until 2009 that Gerry Adams told police about Liam Adams' partial confession.