TPQ features the fifth in a series of a verbatim transcript of the cross examination of Gerry Adams at his brother Liam's first trial. Liam Adams was subsequently convicted of raping his daughter.
In this section of the cross examination Mr Adams has no recollection of having reported Aine's mother for head lice despite not having reported his brother for child rape.
Cross examination of Gerry Adams by Ms McDermott QC at the Crown Court in Northern Ireland sitting at Belfast; Monday April 22nd 2013. Supplied by the office of the Lord Chief Justice.
Q: What you have just described, Mr Adams, withholding information in relation to an investigation of child sexual abuse, is a criminal offence in the jurisdiction in whose parliament you sit at the moment, isn’t it?
A: Well, if the police here had felt that, then they would have proceeded accordingly.
Q: I am not asking you about the police here, I am asking you about the law in the jurisdiction where you represent the constitutency of Louth?
A: Anybody, anyone who...........
Q: It is now a criminal offence, is that not right?
A: Even if it wasn’t a criminal offence, any allegation of abuse against a minor needs to be dealt with by the appropriate agencies even if it wasn’t a criminal offence.
Q: But it is a criminal offence there?
A: It should be a criminal offence everywhere.
Q: Well you know perfectly well, Mr Adams, that it is a criminal offence in the Republic of Ireland?
Mr Murphy: The witness isn’t an expert on the law in the Republic of Ireland.
Ms McDermott: Well it might be something that he voted on…
Judge Philpott: Well............
Ms McDermott: Your Honour, I see it is five to one.
Judge Philpott: The point I think has been made and I think we will leave it. The situation in relation to that will be dealt with at a later stage. Now it is five to one, Mr Adams, we are going to rise for lunch now. Now you are to speak to nobody, nobody at all, about your evidence and will you be back here at two.
The Witness: Okay, thank you.
Judge Philpott: Now members of the jury you have your lunch and we will be back at 2.00.
The Jury Withdrew
The Witness: Your Honour, I have documents here which aren’t mine.
Judge Philpott: Just leave those there, they will remain, no one will touch them. They will remain there.
The Witness: Okay. Am I free to go?
Judge Philpott: Yes, you are free to go.
The Witness: Thank you.
The Witness Withdrew
Judge Philpott: Ms McDermott, I am not tying you in any way, it is just for my own point of view, do you think you will finish this today?
Ms McDermott: Oh definitely.
Judge Philpott: Thank you very much.
On Resuming 14.01
Judge Philpott: Yes. Are we ready........?
Mr Murphy: Yes I understand.
Ms McDermott: Yes, Your Honour.
Judge Philpott: Ms McDermott, there were photographs put in the dock. Were they taken out by anyone?
Ms McDermott:The witness box, your Honour?
Judge Philpott: Yes. Did I say dock..?
Ms McDermott:Well not to my knowledge. (Short pause).
Judge Philpott: The photographs don’t seem to be in the dock – or in the witness box.
Ms McDermott: I remember the witness saying something, when he was leaving, about would he leave it there or something, but maybe.......
Judge Philpott: I didn’t see him walking out with anything.
Ms McDermott: Oh no, I’m not suggesting that he did. There are plenty of copies.
Judge Philpott: That’s not what I’m concerned about Ms McDermott.
Ms McDermott: No.
Judge Philpott: They shouldn’t have been lifted.
Ms McDermott:I don’t know where they went. I should say, your Honour, that I’d be applying to make those an Exhibit, D.2, D.1 is all that is in existence at the moment.
Judge Philpott: Well you don’t need them in the witness box at the minute?
Ms McDermott: I don’t need them; no.
Judge Philpott: Right, that’s fine.
Ms McDermott: Unless your Honour wants to ask the witness about them.
Judge Philpott: I just want to confirm, you didn’t take these photographs out.
The Witness: Yeah, I have them in my briefcase here.
Judge Philpott: You have them?
The Witness: Yeah, yeah.
Judge Philpott: Well could you get them back?
The Witness: I will surely, yes.
Judge Philpott: In fact..........
The Witness: They are family photographs, some of them, but I will get them back; yeah.
Judge Philpott: I think they would be better staying back.
The Witness: Sure.
Ms McDermott: I think if they could be brought back now then.
Judge Philpott: Would you bring them back.
The Witness: Yeah, okay.
Judge Philpott: I just want to do that. In fact, at least we know where they are.
Ms McDermott: Yes.
Judge Philpott: I was concerned that they were somewhere they shouldn’t have been.
Ms McDermott: Well they were.
Judge Philpott: Well they were. But somewhere more.
Ms McDermott: Yes.
Judge Philpott: Just two minutes please and we’ll be with you.
Jury In 14.05
Judge Philpott: Yes Ms McDermott.
Ms McDermott: Thank you, your Honour.
Mr Gerry Adams cont'd cross examination by Ms McDermott QC
Ms McDermott: Mr Adams, if I may just deal with one discreet matter at this stage. Do you recall in January of 1986 speaking to Mrs Margaret Taggart, a Health Visitor in New Barnsley, about concerns that you had about the hygiene of the home and of the children; your brother’s family?
A: No, I don’t have any recollection of that whatsoever. I would like to see if I may, your Honour, the note on that.
Q: Yes. I’m sure that that can be done Mr Adams, in due course.
Judge Philpott: Is there any chance it can be done now Ms McDermott, just before you finish it.
Ms McDermott:Yes certainly if your Honour would give me a moment.
Judge Philpott: Sorry, members of the jury, but there’s quite a lot of documentation, so it will just take a minute to do this. Do you think you would be able to do it, or should I ask the jury to rise for a couple of minutes, Ms McDermott?
Ms McDermott: Eh yes, if your Honour would, I think.
Judge Philpott: Yes because sometimes it’s ........ Mr Adams, if you remain with us while this is found.
The Witness: Thank you.
Short Adjournment 14.07.
Ms McDermott: Yes your Honour I think ..........Yes.
Judge Philpott: Now I want to make it clear that no one is to take notes in this court, apart from journalists, or anyone who has specifically asked for permission, and I have given it. Is that clear .......? Right. Yes, Ms McDermott?
Ms McDermott: Yes.
Mr Gerry Adams cont'd cross examination by Ms McDermott QC
Ms McDermott: You asked for the note, Mr Adams in relation to a complaint, I’m suggesting to you, you made to the Health Visitor in relation to standards of hygiene in your then sister-in-law’s home. The first document that I’m going to show you the minutes of a Child Abuse and neglect case conference held at Milner Street on Friday the 23rd of January 1987. And the part that I am going to ask you to look at is on the second page, the beginning of the second paragraph, and it reads: “Mrs Taggart.......” I pause there to say that, and you may recall this, that she was the Health Visitor in the area; do you remember her?
Q: “Mrs Margaret Taggart, reported that the family first came to her attention just after Christmas last year (January 1986) when the brother in law came to see her, because the children were dirty and had lice in their hair”. And then I’m going to show you another document, which are the minutes of what’s called an Admission Panel at the Whiterock Family Centre, held on Monday the 27th of January 1986. So that’s a year before the one I’ve just read out. And if you look at the fourth paragraph down, it says: “Mrs Taggart.....” And I break off there to say that she is described at the top as Mrs M Taggart, HV, Whiterock Health Centre: “Mrs Taggart explained how Sister Bernadette had asked VSB to go in and decorate the house. Mrs Taggart went on to say Gerry Adams (brother in law) had said that poor home management standards had, in some way, contributed to the marital difficulties. So there are the two documents.
A: Thank you.
Q: I’m only asking you whether you said this, Mr Adams, whether you accept that you said it (that’s all) not going to the ......
A: No, I don’t.....I don’t have any......any recollection whatsoever.
Q: Well do you dispute that you said it?
A: Well I don’t have any recollection. I .........
Q: Well you know the difference, don’t you, between having a recollection of something, and not?
A: Where is the second reference here please?
Q: I beg your pardon?
A: Where is the second reference?
Q: It’s on the second page, the last page that you’ve got there, four paragraphs down, first sentence.
A: I’m afraid I can’t see this here.
Q: Perhaps if you would pass it back, I’ll mark it for you Mr Adams. If you pass the two documents back, I will mark both.
A: That’s both.
Q: Thank you.
Mr Adams the first document is clipped together, and the reference is on the second page and highlighted. The second document consists of one page and it is highlighted.
A: Thank you (Short Pause) I see that now, I’ve read it.
Q: Yes. Do you accept that you did make such a complaint to the Health Visitor?
A: Well, as I said earlier, I don’t have any recollection whatsoever of this.
Q: Well may I suggest to you that you, as the Member of Parliament for this area, reporting your own family to the Health Visitor , because of concerns about hygiene and lice, is surely something that would stick in your mind?
A: Well I can’t give you the answer; other than the answer that I have given you.
Q: Well do you dispute that you did make the complaint?
A: Well if I brought anything to the attention of Health Visitors (or anyone else) it wasn’t as a complaint; it was to try and help in the situation. But I ......I don’t have a recollection. This is in ’87 and ’86, so I don’t have a recollection. I do have a recollection of meeting with a Health Visitor in the house. My memory of that was almost that it was accidental, that I was either in the house and she came in, or she was in the house when I went into it.
Q: Well now that’s another occasion, Mr Adams. It wasn’t the Health Visitor you met on that occasion, it was the Social Worker.
Q: ...called Sheila Brannigan.
Q: And that was on the 10th of March of 1987, the day after the meeting in Buncrana. You told police, in your interview ......or in your statement, rather, to them in June of 2007 that you recalled neither meeting Miss or Mrs Brannigan, but had no reason to dispute that it happened. Nor did you remember making the complaint to the Health Visitor, or report to the Health Visitor but, again, you’d no reason to dispute that it ... that it happened. Now you recall, no doubt, coming to this Court on last Thursday?
Q: And it was your expectation, was it not, that you were going to be giving evidence that day?
Q: And there were particular matters of clarification which you were asked to address weren’t there?
A: Well I was ... I was advised that the Court was looking clarification. I was also advised that elements of my statement could not be dealt with.
Q: Beg your pardon?
A: I was advised that elements of my statement could not be dealt with, and that there was some other matters needed clarification.
Q: Yes. And when you came to court on last Thursday morning, were you accompanied by your solicitor?
A: I wasn’t accompanied by him, but he met me here.
Q: He was.........he was here. Now that is not the same solicitor as the solicitor you referred to earlier; is it?
A: No. No.
Q: Albeit a solicitor from the same firm of solicitors?
Q: So you met him here, and were you accompanied by a Sinn Fein Press Officer?
A: I was accompanied by an assistant who works with me.
Q: Is that Mr McAuley?
Q: Mr Richard McAuley?
Q: And is he a Sinn Fein Press Officer?
A: No, he’s not. He’s a Personal Assistant.
Q. A personal assistant. And is he sometimes your spokesman?
A: Occasionally; yes.
Q: Has he ever been described as a Sinn Fein Press Officer?
A: He may have, when he was one.
Q: When was he one?.
A: Oh, going back some ...... some years. He has been, we are based in now, in Leinster House, where I am elected as a TD, and things have moved on within Sinn Fein. There were a whole ream of Press Officers deal with the press. Richard would occasionally, I think ..........
Q: I think we leave it there, Mr Adams.......
A: No, sorry, I just want to be clear.
Q: Well please then, do continue.
A: And he also would be, I suppose, the main contact if the media were looking for me.
Q: Yes. And he came with you anyway; did he?
A: He did, yes, at my request.
Q: And were you asked in the morning of Thursday to clarify by way of making a further statement, three things about the admission which you allege your brother made to you? Do you remember being asked that? I think there were three, there were three things read out to you in a note. That may have been in the afternoon. But do you recall your mind being directed to the issue of what it was your brother was alleged (by you) to have said? Do you remember being asked about that in the morning?
A: Well, I remember being told that the court had directed....
Mr Murphy: Your Honour, I think there’s one matter that I would like to raise in the absence of the jury.
Judge Philpott: Very well. Members of the jury, in fact, I think to be.well how long will it be?.
Mr Murphy: It may only take a short time.
Judge Philpott: All right. If you take them out, thank you.
Jury Out 14.25
|THE LYING I|
|THE LYING II|
|THE LYING III|
|THE LYING IV|
|THE LYING V|
|THE LYING VI|