FORMER IRA terrorist Liam Adams will be sentenced today (Wednesday) for raping and sexually abusing his daughter.
The 58-year-old brother of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams will appear in the dock of Court 14 in Belfast Crown Court around 10 am to hear his fate.
However, his Louth TD brother – who failed to tell police about his brothers activities for years – will not be in court for the sentencing.
Deputy Belfast Recorder Judge Corinne Philpott QC has spent the past number of weeks reviewing pre-sentence and probation reports before making a decision on what sentence to pass on Adams.
Legal sources expect the sentence will be in the range of between 15 and 20 years, with half spent in custody and the remainder on licence following his release.
One legal source told Belfast Daily: “If I was Liam Adams I would be expecting a sentence of around 17-18 years.
“So he is looking at around eight-and-a-half to nine years in custody without parole.
“There are many aggravating features that will go against him.
“Firstly, he has denied the charges and has shown no remorse to his victim. He went for a jury trial and made his victim give evidence against him during two trials.
“There is very little mitigating in his favour. That’s why the sentence will be a very severe one.”
During the trial, the jury of nine men and three women heard that Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams had confronted his younger brother Liam about allegations he raped and abused his own daughter Aine Adams from the age of four.
Belfast Crown Court heard that after Aine Adams told her mother about what had allegedly happened to her when she was a child, the mother and daughter – along with Gerry Adams – went to confront Liam Adams at a house in Buncrana, Co Donegal in 1986.
Liam Adams, of Bernagh Drive, west Belfast, however, denied the allegations.
He went on trial facing ten counts of rape, indecent assault and gross indecency allegedly committed against his daughter – between the ages of around four and ten – from 23 March 1977 to 24 March 1984.
Crown lawyer Ciaran Murphy QC warned the jury of six men and six women that their role was to assess the evidence, “decide who is telling the truth” and set aside any feelings of sympathy or prejudice they may have.
He declared that ultimately, once they have heard all of the evidence in the trial, “we respectfully say that you will be firmly convinced of the guilt of Mr Liam Adams.”
Taking the jury through the ten count indictment, Mr Murphy said that in essence Aine Adams, 40, will allege that when she was a child, her father “engaged in indecent touching of her body,” forced her to perform sex acts and touch him and also “engaged in sexual intercourse with her from about the age of five.”
Describing how her parents’ marriage was not a happy one, the lawyer said there were many occasions when Aine’s mother left the home and it was then, “when the defendant was left alone with Aine Adams, she alleges she was abused”.
He said the first incident the alleged victim could recollect was when she was around four-years-old and living in Westrock Drive in west Belfast when her father allegedly came into her room and “started touching her”, adding that in combination with the further sexual allegations “it can be inferred that the touching was indecent.”
The next set of three charges of indecent assault, gross indecency and rape, came when Aine was around five-years-old said the lawyer.
While her mother was in hospital giving birth to her brother Connor, Liam Adams allegedly went into his daughter’s room, touched her inappropriately, forced her to touch him and then raped her.
After the family had moved to a property in the Lenadoon area when Aine was still around five-years-old, Mr Murphy recounted how Aine would give evidence of having her own bedroom but that her father came into her room wearing a sheepskin coat.
“He had just come into the house,” explained the lawyer, “and she alleges that he touched the area where her breasts would have been…and kissed her in a vulgar way” before there was more inappropriate touching and rape.
Another alleged incident occurred in a bungalow the family had moved to in the New Barnsley area in the summer of 1981 when again, having gone into his young daughter’s bedroom, Adams abused her and forced her to perform a sex act.
The last count, Mr Murphy told the jury, related to an allegation that Adams raped his daughter when she was around ten-years-old in a flat he moved into on the Antrim Road in the north of the city after the marriage broke up.
He said Aine first told her mother Sarah about the allegations in 1986, a short time before the mother and daughter, along with Sinn Féin president, her uncle Gerry Adams, went to Co Donegal to confront him about his alleged behaviour.
The jury heard that while she also told police about the alleged abuse in 1987 and gave a statement, she told police she did wish the matter to go any further and moved to Scotland.
By 2006, however, Aine Adams had come back to Belfast and again raised her complaint with the police who arrested her father and interviewed him three times.
Liam Adams denied all the allegations put to him and also denied that his brother, ex-wife and daughter ever confronted him about the claims.
However, a jury didn’t believe his lies and found him guilty.
Adams was remanded in custody to Maghaberry prison where he is being held in a secure compound for his own safety.