Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams will not face prosecution for witholding information about his brother's rape confession

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams will not face prosecution for witholding information about his brother’s rape confession

A decision not to prosecute Gerry Adams for allegedly withholding evidence about his rapist brother was correct, a review has concluded.

The Sinn Féin leader’s brother, Liam Adams, was convicted and jailed in 2013 for raping and sexually abusing his own daughter Aine.

She has waived her right to anonymity to expose her sex beast dad, a one time leading member of the IRA in Belfast.

Mr Adams confronted his brother in 2000, who confirmed that he had abused Ms Dahlstrom.

However, Gerry Adams did not report it to the police until 2007.

He made the report shortly after his party voted to accept the PSNI.

When Ms Dahlstrom’s case came to court, prosecutors decided to use Gerry Adams as a witness.

The former West Belfast MP testified at his younger brother’s first trial, which collapsed for legal reasons, but did not give evidence at the second trial.

Following Liam Adam’s rape conviction in October 2013, Attorney General John Larkin QC was asked to investigate the decision-making process by the Public Prosecution Service (PPS).

The PPS had decided that on both evidential and public interest grounds, the test for prosecuting Gerry Adams for withholding information was not met.

The Attorney General found that prosecutors had “correctly applied, in the first instance, the evidential test for prosecution to the available evidence”.

However, he said that their decision that the evidential test had not been met was “perhaps premature”.

Mr Larkin said that prosecutors should have made further inquiries about how much Gerry Adams knew about the abuse, and the allegations of serious offences such as rape.

He said this could have been clarified by checking with the rape victim, Ms Dahlstrom.

The PPS has re-interviewed her, and she has indicated that she does not want to pursue the matter.

There will be no prosecution for withholding information.

Liam Adams jailed for raping and sexually abusing his daughter

Liam Adams jailed for raping and sexually abusing his daughter

In a statement, Gerry Adams welcomed both the Attorney General’s report and confirmation from the PPS that he will not be prosecuted.

“This has been a very difficult time for Áine, her family and the wider Adams family,” said the Louth TD.

“I welcome the conclusion of the PPS that I should not be prosecuted for an offence of withholding. I committed no offence.”

In his review, the Attorney General examined the complex issue of treating family members as suspects, rather than witnesses, in cases where they may know that a relative has been abused.

Mr Larkin recognised that prosecutors “can face difficult decisions in cases involving sexual abuse within a family where there is some degree of knowledge among family members”.

He said it was unlikely to be in the public interest to prosecute family members who have knowledge of abuse, “particularly where they may be able to give evidence in support of the victim”.

Mr Larkin said: “It should be open to the PPS to make a public interest decision that such persons should be treated as witnesses and not treated as suspects by the PSNI or prosecuted without first having to take all those steps necessary in order to ascertain whether the evidential test is or is not satisfied.”

“Consideration should be given to whether or not the Code for Prosecutors could be amended to allow the PPS to take such decisions where it is clear from the outset that the public interest in treating an individual as a witness would greatly outweigh the public interest in prosecuting that individual for withholding information,” he added.

The Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Pamela Atchison, welcomed the Attorney General’s review and accepted his recommendation that the PPS prosecution code should take into account “exceptional circumstances, such as this case of familial sexual abuse”.

She said “it is right that our Code for Prosecutors should allow us to consider the public interest test prior to our having reached a conclusion in relation to the evidential test”.

The PPS has launched a consultation process to amend its code to reflect the Attorney General’s suggestion.

Liam Adams’ abuse of his daughter was committed over a six-year period between 1977 and 1982, when Ms Dahlstrom was aged between four and nine.

He was found guilty of three charges of rape, four counts of indecent assault and a further three counts of gross indecency against her.

He lost an appeal against his conviction last month and is serving a 16-year prison sentence for the offences.

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