| 19.2°C Belfast

Supreme Court overturns Gerry Adams prison escape convictions


Close

Gerry Adams (Niall Carson/PA)

Gerry Adams (Niall Carson/PA)

Gerry Adams (Niall Carson/PA)

Gerry Adams' historic convictions for attempting to escape from the Maze Prison in the 1970s have been overturned by the UK's highest court after it ruled that his detention was unlawful.

The former Sinn Fein leader claimed his two 1975 convictions were unsafe because his detention was not "personally considered" by a senior government minister.

Mr Adams, 71, attempted to escape from the Maze - also known as Long Kesh internment camp - on Christmas Eve 1973 and again in July 1974. He was later sentenced to a total of four-and-a-half years.

At a hearing in November, Mr Adams' lawyers argued that, because the interim custody order (ICO) used to initially detain him in July 1973 was not authorised by the then-secretary of state for Northern Ireland Willie Whitelaw, his detention was unlawful and his convictions should be overturned.

Announcing the Supreme Court's judgment at a remote hearing on Wednesday, Lord Kerr - the former Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland - said the court had unanimously allowed Mr Adams' appeal and had quashed his convictions.

PA