Belfast Telegraph

Verdict reserved on Liam Adams appeal over rape

By Alan Erwin

Judgment has been reserved in a bid by Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams' brother to overturn convictions for raping his own daughter.

Northern Ireland's most senior judge, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan, pledged to give a decision in Liam Adams' appeal as soon as possible.

The 59-year-old is challenging a verdict that he was guilty of a string of sexual assaults on his daughter Aine. As the two-day hearing drew to a close at the Court of Appeal in Belfast, it was claimed that jurors who convicted him were not properly advised on how to deal with the reliability of the alleged victim's account.

Eilis McDermott QC said: "Put in stark relief, the necessity that arose in this case was for the issue of credibility to be tackled head-on by the trial judge in her direction to the jury. That's something that was never done."

Liam Adams, formerly of Bearnagh Drive in Belfast, is serving a 16-year jail sentence for the offences against his daughter between 1977 and 1982 when the victim was between four and nine. He consistently denied the allegations throughout a second trial at Belfast Crown Court in 2013. But a jury found him guilty of 10 offences: three charges of rape, four of indecent assault and a further three of gross indecency.

Defence lawyers have focused their challenge on alleged flaws in the guidance to the jury at the end of the trial. They contended that it may have wrongly shifted the burden onto Adams to prove his innocence.

Sir Declan said a verdict was being reserved.

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