Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has denied he made a statement to the PSNI implicating his brother Liam for the alleged sexual assault of his own daughter, Aine, in order to save his "political skin".
Belfast Crown Court also heard yesterday that it wasn't until nine years after Liam Adams allegedly admitted to Mr Adams that he had sexually assaulted his daughter that the Louth TD told the PSNI of the alleged crime against his niece.
Mr Adams also denied that he told lies to a television journalist about his brother Liam Adams (57), from Bernagh Drive, west Belfast, who is charged with sexually assaulting Ms Adams. Mr Adams said he “took exception” to the accusation.
Gerry Adams, a prosecution witness, was giving evidence in relation to the case of sexual assault charges against his brother. Liam Adams denies 10 charges against him involving his daughter Aine – three of rape, three of gross indecency and four of indecent assault. It is alleged the assaults took place over a six-year period beginning in 1977 when Ms Adams was aged four.
'Walk in the rain'
During yesterday's hearing Gerry Adams said that in 2000 his brother Liam admitted to him that he had molested Ms Adams. This admission took place during a long "walk in the rain" in Dundalk. Mr Adams said his brother told him the abuse had happened only once. He did not admit he raped Ms Adams, who has waived her right to anonymity, but instead said he had "molested her or had interfered with her or had sexually assaulted her".
Eilis McDermott QC, acting for Liam Adams, put it to him that her client never made such an admission. “I don’t accept your submission,” said Mr Adams, insisting his brother had made an admission of guilt.
Mr Adams also referred to a 1987 meeting in Buncrana, Co Donegal, where he confronted his brother about the allegations made by Ms Adams.
He spoke to him in the company of Ms Adams and her mother, Sarah Marie, and he also spoke to him alone.
On both occasions at that meeting Liam Adams denied the allegations. The court has already heard that on that occasion, it was alleged that Mr Adams threatened to hit Liam Adams with a hammer. Mr Adams said he never made such a threat.
Ms McDermott accused Mr Adams of seeking to save his political skin when he told police in 2009 that Liam Adams had made an admission of guilt
“If I had been interested in saving my political skin, I would not have got involved in this process in the first place,” said Mr Adams.
He said he was trying to meet his responsibilities to his niece, whom he was very fond of. “This is above politics and saving my political skin had no consideration in any of these matters,” he said.
Ms McDermott also referred to a television interview the Sinn Féin president gave in 2009 where he said that after the 1987 confrontation in Buncrana, that his brother left the country and that Liam Adams thereafter "was more or less out of his life for the next 15 years".
Ms McDermott said both assertions were “lies”. Mr Adams said he took exception to this accusation and that he was not lying.
Asked where his brother went, Mr Adams said he went to Canada.
However, Ms McDermott said that Liam Adams went to Canada for a period in 1983 but apart from occasional holidays in Spain did not leave the country after 1987, when he was first confronted by the Sinn Féin president about the allegations. Mr Adams said he was providing evidence that was to the best of his recollection.
Ms McDermott, in relation to her allegation that Mr Adams was lying about putting his brother out of his life for 15 years, then put several photographs up on screen that showed Mr Adams in the company of Liam Adams on various dates and in various places.
The dates included 1991, 1996, 1997 and 1998. She also showed a dedication to Liam Adams and his family that Mr Adams inscribed on the flyleaf of one of his books, An Irish Journey , in May 2001.
This all served to demonstrate, said Ms McDermott, that far from being out of his life, he was in regular contact with Liam Adams. Mr Adams said he had never denied that he had been in contact with Liam Adams.
Ms McDermott said Mr Adams was trying to create distance between him and the defendant. “That is not the case; I love my brother,” said Mr Adams.