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Watchdog says police acted correctly in Adams abuse case

Abuse victim Aine Adams

Police Ombudsman Michael Maguire has said officers were "not politically motivated" when they recommended no prosecution of Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams for allegedly withholding information about his paedophile brother.

The watchdog said there was no evidence of misconduct, or that officers had been influenced by the Sinn Féin president's status.

The Ombudsman received a complaint shortly after Liam Adams was convicted and jailed in 2013 of raping and abusing his elder daughter Aine Adams.

Dr Maguire said: "The documentation we have examined shows that the police recommendation not to prosecute Mr Adams followed from an appropriate interpretation of the law as well as some concern over the precedent which such a prosecution could set.

"I have found no evidence to indicate that their thinking was influenced by who Mr Adams was."

Ms Adams, who has waived her right to anonymity, was abused over a six-year period during the 1970s and 1980s starting when she was just four years old.

Gerry Adams, a Louth TD, testified at his brother's first trial - which collapsed in April 2013.

He told the court that in 2000, during a walk in Dundalk, his brother had admitted sexually abusing his daughter, Ms Adams.

Mr Adams made his first report to police about the allegations in 2007 shortly after his party voted to accept the PSNI, but did not tell officers about the confession until 2009. He did not give evidence at the second trial for technical reasons.

Last month, a review by Northern Ireland Attorney General John Larkin QC, concluded that it was not in the public interest to prosecute the senior politician.

Dr Maguire said; "It is clear that Mr Adams did not report either conversation immediately to the police. It is also clear that, at one stage, police considered whether or not this delay could be regarded as withholding information'.

And a memo dated October 24, 2011 from the PSNI to PPS set out the potential implications for prosecuting a family member, where their evidence supports the prosecution.

"My findings in this case arise from a very particular set of circumstances and how they applied to a particular piece of legislation. In relation to this case, I found no evidence of misconduct concerning any of the officers involved," he said.

"Indeed, the officers were cognisant of how important it is for relatives to come forward with information which may assist in the prosecution of such allegations of historic sexual abuse."

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