TPQ features the sixth and final piece 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 is accused of being concerned primarily with saving his political skin.
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.
Ms McDermott: I don’t know whether the witness should remain?
Mr Murphy: The witness is probably all right at the moment, your Honour. I just wanted, from the position of what the witness was told to do, or not to do, the specific questions were asked in the afternoon, leading to the second statement.
Judge Philpott: Yes
Mr Murphy: And those were written out by my learned junior. And there were other matters that the witness was directed away from, more than the one matter that maybe we’ve been mentioning. Certainly I gave some instructions. So that was all part of it. And I don’t wish anything about that to come out unnecessarily before the jury. And the matter that we’ve been touching upon.
Judge Philpott: Well let’s just stop here.
Ms McDermott: Well your Honour, if it’s of any assistance perhaps I could say that I appreciate my learned friend’s intervention.
Judge Philpott: I don’t think his instructions or his conversations should be led, if that’s easier.
Ms McDermott: Well I am content to confine the matter to the afternoon, if that would be best.
Mr Murphy: Alright, thank you. Thank you I think that helps.
Ms McDermott: And at half past 2.00. I think, is that agreed, that that is the time.
Mr Murphy: Because there was always the risk of where the emphasis was placed at a particular time.
Ms McDermott: No I’m fine with that, half past 2.00.
Mr Murphy: And I think the afternoon is, insofar as it........anything is relevant.
Judge Philpott: I think yes, that’s fine, half past 2.00. Thank you.
Jury In 14.27
Judge Philpott: Yes, Ms McDermott.
Ms McDermott: Yes, thank you your Honour
(To The Witness:): I want to direct you specifically, Mr Adams, to last Thursday afternoon, at about half past 2.00. Now do you recall, at that time, being asked by police to clarify, in statement form, what it was your brother was alleged (by you) to have said to you when he made, as you say, this admission – where that happened, and when it happened? Now do you remember your mind being focused on those three questions?
A: I do.
Q: And is it the case that it was half past 5.00 that evening before the statement was received by the Court?
A: I know I didn’t get out of here until half 5.00. My solicitor wasn’t there, but I read the statement to him, I phoned him and read the statement to him.
Q: Well your solicitor had been there in the morning; is that right?
A: He had, but he had left in the afternoon.
Q: And he had left in the afternoon. And did you ask the police officer to leave you and your Personal Assistant, Mr Auley, alone to discuss the matter?
A: No, I asked that I be left alone.
Q: That you be left alone?
A: Not to discuss the matter, at all. Let me be very, very clear about this, and your Honour, I’ll take guidance from you. I have been asked for a number of statements.......
Q: No, I’m just asking you about this one.....
A: Sorry, I’m.....well, I’m just going to tell you.
Judge Philpott: Well now, before we do that, just be aware that it has to be relevant.
The Witness: No, I understand that. Right.
Judge Philpott: Don’t be putting in anything.....
The Witness: So the....when the police officer come back looking for yet another statement and, remember, quite rightly I wasn’t in here, so I didn’t know what all this was about, and I had give what I considered to be a full account. So I was a bit nonplussed, I have to say, and when I was asked to do it yet again. And on an earlier occasion I had dictated the statement to the police officer. In this case I hand wrote it. I wrote it on my own. Yes, Richard McAuley was in the room, but he knew nothing of these details. I wrote it on my own, and I phoned it through to my solicitor.
Ms McDermott: And that took, that process took from 2.30 until 5.30, didn’t it Mr Adams?
Q: The information that was contained in that statement was that the alleged admission was made to
you in Dundalk?
A: Well first of all it didn’t take me from 2.30 to 5.30 to write the statement.
Q: Just let me take you through what was in your statement for the benefit of the jury, Mr Adams.
Judge Philpott: Can we just stop for a moment. I think it is fair to say I received the statement at 5.30 but there was a question of it having to be retyped in statement format so there is that issue, but certainly it was in or around 5 o’clock.
Ms McDermott: Well pen hadn’t been put to paper Mr Adams at 4 o’clock, isn’t that right?
A: Well let me if I may......
Q: Can you answer whether that is right or not right?
A: I can’t tell you the exact time. I wasn’t keeping a stopwatch. I was quite perturbed.....
Q: I am not asking you whether you were keeping a stopwatch, I am asking you whether you agree that pen had not been put to paper at 4 o’clock.
A: Well that’s not true.
Q: What time was pen put to paper?
A: I don’t know exactly but if I may recount your Honour, that the police officer came to me, explained to me that certain matters were not to be raised, said there needed to be, I think she used the term that the Court had directed that this had to be who, what, where, when, she actually had a note with equivalent of that. I took a long time to get into my head that I had to write another statement. I was telling this as best I could and it was only when I twigged that this to a large degree was a presentational matter because I had in the earlier statement came at it from a slightly different direction, but I don’t want the Court to have any impression that I spent three hours or three and a half hours making the statement, that was not the case. I had part of that time trying to get into my head exactly what was wanted. I had part of that time talking to my solicitor, reading this out to him on the phone and then giving it over to the police officer.
Q: What you were asked to do Mr Adams, was to say in terms what had been said to you, when it was said and where it was said?
A: And I did that.
Q: Yes, and it took three hours from you being asked to the statement being produced. Now one of the things you said in that statement was that this alleged admission was made to you in Dundalk, that was the first time you had ever said that, isn’t that so?
A: That’s true, yes.
Q:You said that it was made to you in the year 2000, that was the first time you had ever said that, isn’t that so?
A: Yes, although you know I couldn’t swear on the year, but yes.
Q: You said that the alleged admission was made to you in the course of you taking a walk with your brother?
Q: You had never said that before, had you?
Q: In a statement to the police?
A: Is there not ...well okay. I have some notion at an earlier statement I mentioned walking with Liam but perhaps not.
Q: In relation to what was said to you, you said he had interfered with her. “I asked what did he mean. He said sexually assaulted her, molested her.” And you then say “I now recall that he said this only happened once”.
Q:You had never before said to police or anybody, had you, that he told you this only happened once?
A: That’s true and that came to me when I was writing the statement.
Q: It came to you on the 18th April 2013?
A: Came to me last Thursday.
Q: In what was statement number 4 in relation to this issue?
A: Well the statements and the number of the statements were at the request of the Court.
Judge Philpott: Can we just be clear, in relation to this issue it would be statement number 3 because the first statement didn’t, the very first statement didn’t refer to it.
Ms McDermott: No, there are five statements altogether, there are four in relation to the admission, they are the 21st October 2009, 30th March 2013 and two on the 18th of April.
Judge Philpott: 30th March.
Ms McDermott: 2013 and two on the 18TH April 2013 of which this is the second.
Judge Philpott: Thank you.
Ms McDermott: So that detail came to you, you say for the first time last Thursday?
Q: Do you have any of the documents before you Mr Adams, that you had before you this morning?
A: I have the statement that you left over, this batch of documents.
Q: That last one, do you have the statement of the 21st October 2009 which I was showing you this morning?
A: Yes, I have it here.
Q: You do. Now when you were speaking to your solicitor in June of 2007, you told the court that he advised you that you should only tell the police in 2007 about the Buncrana meeting and that you shouldn’t tell them about the alleged admission?
A: No, he didn’t tell me that, he told me that, he advised me that the statement, because that’s what the police were asking could be about Buncrana and I would have plenty of time to make a statement about the other matters that I had told him about.
Q: You would have plenty of time, but in fact as the Court heard this morning two years and four months passed, isn’t that right?
A: Well yes, the case was under investigation I think for that two years or so.
Q: Yes. Since you have waived your privilege I ask you this question whether your solicitor discussed with you whether you or indeed he and you might be guilty of withholding information?
A: Well, I had already advised my solicitor that the police had this information and that the Social Services had this information.
Q: No, no, no, about the admission?
A: No he didn’t, he didn’t advise me about that but he did tell me as I said previously, that I could make a statement as the case proceeded that there would be plenty of time to do that.
Q: You would have plenty of time. Sorry that you had plenty of time, or what did you say there, that he had plenty of time?
A: No, it was me the person who was making the statement.
Q: That you had plenty of time. But you waited, didn’t you Mr Adams, until the time when you were being interviewed by a television journalist, you waited until that time to request of the police that they take another statement from you?
A: Well, I was also somewhere picked it up that the case was proceeding and went back to my solicitor and said I think we need to make the statement that you had referred to previously.
Q: Well you needed to make the statement at that stage Mr Adams, because you wanted to do your best to avoid allegations that you had withheld information about child sexual abuse.
A: Not at all because I hadn’t.
Q: Well you had by any understanding because you were going to tell the police on this occasion about an admission that you say was made to you nine years before. So during that nine years you had that information and the police didn’t have it because you had withheld it?
A: Well you have to bear in mind if you don’t mind me saying so, that the process that I was engaged in with Liam.......
Q: Mr Adams, I am not asking you about the process that you were engaged in, I was asking you........
A: Aine was........
Q: Pardon me, just let me ask you the question again, you went to the police on this occasion because you knew that the question of your withholding information was going to become a matter of public debate?
A:Well I went to the police initially in the course of this after Aine went to the police because up until then.........
Q: I am asking you, just pause there Mr Adams.
A: Your Honour I have to be able to answer.
Judge Philpott: Look he is allowed to answer this question, if he goes over what is, take something outside we can deal with it.
Ms McDermott: Your Honour I.......
Judge Philpott: We will put the jury out for a few moments if there is going to be. Could you just go out as well Mr Adams?
Ms McDermott: Your Honour, I am trying to ask the witness about the meeting of 2009, now he is ranging far and wide.
Judge Philpott: Yes Miss McDermott, you are not asking him about the meeting of 2009.
Ms McDermott: Not the meeting, the statement.
Judge Philpott: The statement and it is quite proper to ask him about the statement, but you can certainly put it to him that he only made this statement because as you have done he knew it was going to come into the public domain.
Ms McDermott: Yes.
Judge Philpott: But if he says that’s not the reason, is he not entitled to say what the reason is as long as it doesn’t go into some of the things which I have already ruled out.
Ms McDermott: Of course he is entitled to........
Judge Philpott: Well.
Ms McDermott: But may I just develop that slightly your Honour. If that was his answer that’s not the reason, the reason was, then of course he is perfectly entitled to say it but his answer was and the sentence began “I was engaged in a meeting with Aine”, now that’s nothing to do with him making a statement in 2009.
Judge Philpott: This is where it gets a bit difficult and this is where this was always going to be problematic. He was in terms, because I have seen the other statements, in terms of what he was saying was look I was trying to get this sorted within the family, is that not what he was saying in relation to getting your client to accept what he says that he had done and admitted to him and just go and apologise to his daughter about it. How can that not be relevant if he says that? I mean I can’t see how that is not relevant and if that’s the ex, we don’t know precisely what explanation he is going to give but he did start off by saying I was having discussions with Aine and you know, you certainly have to keep them within reins.
Ms McDermott: I am doing my best, he is being given considerable latitude.
Judge Philpott:Well I don’t think he has been given latitude within this point and he is being kept within reins.
Ms McDermott: I am fully aware that the court is doing its best to.....
Judge Philpott: Yes but as well as that I have to make sure that if there is a proper answer that explains his position he can give it.
Ms McDermott: Of course.
Judge Philpott: A way round this might be......well it wouldn’t I can see why you can’t do that but I think......
Ms McDermott: I am quite happy just to ask him a question.
Judge Philpott: I will hear what he wants to say and then I will judge whether it is suitable to go to the jury, is that not a reasonable way to deal with it.
Ms McDermott: Yes indeed.
Judge Philpott: Could he just come back in or what part of it is suitable to go to the jury, because things can get elongated and I don’t think.
Judge Philpott: Now Mr Adams, in relation to the question that Miss McDermott asked you,
what I would like you to do so I can be sure that it doesn’t cause any difficulties in the generality of the trial is for you to give the answer you were going to give Miss McDermott and then I will rule what part of it or whether it all can go to the jury and give you certain directions, so if you just answer the question as you were going to answer it and then we will see if it infringes.
The Witness:Well would she put the question again?
Ms McDermott: Yes I am going to put the exact question from Mr Brolly’s note because I think this maybe what the jury was left with. The question that I put to you Mr Adams, was that when you went to the police at this time, that is to say on the 21st October 2009 because you knew that the question of your withholding information was going to become the subject of public debate.
A: Well I didn’t know that, how could I have known that?
Judge Philpott: You can say you didn’t know that but do you have anything else you want to add to that answer?
The Witness: Yes, yes.
Judge Philpott: Well let’s have that.
The Witness: The issue of going to the police I didn’t go to the police until Aine went to the police because up until that point when Aine gave up on the process the whole effort what to try and get her father to acknowledge what she alleged he did. And Aine was an adult at this time.
Judge Philpott:You can stop there, we don’t need that bit. Now is there anything that anyone says is improper about the answer that he has given and why that answer as he has given it cannot go to the jury.
Ms McDermott: The first answer or the whole answer?
Judge Philpott: The one he has given apart from his referring back to Aine again.
Ms McDermott: Apart from that I have no objection.
Judge Philpott:He can say that he was saying about speaking to Aine. Could you just repeat that
The Witness: I can’t give you it verbatim.
Judge Philpott: Do your best.
The Witness: The issue of me engaging with the police did not occur until Aine went to the police because up until then she wanted her father to acknowledge what she alleged he did and that’s where my effort was.
Judge Philpott: That’s all, is there anything that is inappropriate about that?
Ms McDermott: Well your Honour, very well your Honour, I am content to proceed with that.
Judge Philpott: That’s his explanation. Keep it to that Mr Adams.
(Jury in 2.50)
Ms McDermott:I am going to repeat to you Mr Adams, the question that I asked you before the jury retired so that we may take up where we left off as it were. I suggested to you that the reason that you went to the police on the 21st October 2009 was because you knew that the question of your withholding information was going to become the subject of public debate?
A: I didn’t know that and the issue of me engaging with the police, I engaged with the police after Aine engaged with the police.
Q: Mr Adams, I am certainly not trying to stop you from saying that but I may I just deal with the first part of your answer in case it gets lost, you say you didn’t know that, you didn’t know that it was going to become the subject of public debate.
Q: But you knew, as you have told the Court this morning that a television programme was being made about the whole matter?
A: I did know that, yes, but I didn’t know what you have just asked me.
Q: Well you knew that in the course of that television programme what you had done about the allegations that your niece made was going to be at the forefront of the discussion?
A: Well I didn’t know that either. I actually did know that the case was proceeding if you like simultaneous, parallel with this but no, I didn’t know that was going to be the specific thrust of the programme.
Q: You didn’t know that was going to be the thrust of the programme?
Q: You knew of course that it would be part of the programme that these allegations or that some allegations at any rate were made known to you in 1987?
A: Which allegations are those?
Q: Your niece and your sister in law say that you were aware that the allegations, one of the allegations, was rape. You say you weren’t so aware, that’s why I use the expression some.......
Q: Just pause a moment Mr Adams, that’s why I use the expression “some allegations”, in other words I am saying whether you are right or they are right, you knew that it was going to be part of this programme that you were aware that your niece in 1987 was saying that your brother had sexually assaulted her?
A: I met with the programme makers I think some time after this and they told me that the only interest they had in making the programme was because my name was attached to it.
Q: Well that’s as may be Mr Adams, that’s as may be.
A: That’s exactly as it was.
Q: I am asking you whether, and I am suggesting to you that you must have known that the whole issue of what was done about this in terms of reporting etc. was going to be the focus of the programme.
A: Well you see.........
Q: Did you or did you not? Then you can go on.
A: Well I have already answered, I can’t keep repeating ad nauseam the same answer. I did not know and there are very few journalists who will tell you specifically all the issues that they are going to raise. I did know that this issue had been reported to the RUC away back, I did know that it had been reported to the Social Services, I was quite satisfied that in trying to deal with this matter at least until at least she gave up on this process that I was acting as Aine wanted me in terms of getting her father to acknowledge what he had done. She became increasingly dissatisfied with the failure of that process and then she went to the police and that brought it into a totally different arena.
Q: Mr Adams, did the police know before 21st October 2009 that you were saying that your brother had made an admission to you, yes or no?
A: Well I don’t know if they knew that from someone else but I didn’t make that statement until…
Q: Well who else?
A: I didn’t make that statement until the date here.
Q: Well you had never told them?
Q: You had never told them before that date?
A. No, but I have already advised you as to how this occurred and that the statement came in two parts initially about Buncrana and then secondly about the admission and that was in keeping with the legal advice that I gave at that time.
Q: So the statement came in two parts with two years and four months between them, that is right, isn’t it?
Q: And just about a month before you were interviewed by a television journalist, that’s a fact, isn’t it?
A: Well it might be chronologically a fact because one came after the other but to link one to the other I think is absolutely and totally wrong.
Q: So may the jury take it that it is your evidence that the fact that this statement came just a month before your interview with the television journalist is no more than a coincidence?
A: I think the jury will make up its own mind on that issue.
Q: But is that what you are telling them, is that what you would like them to understand?
A: No, I wouldn’t use the language that you used I would use the language that I used and the jury has heard that and they will make their own judgement.
Q: I want to suggest to you in clear terms that the reason that you made this statement to the police on the 21st of October 2009 was to save your political skin?
A: If I had been interested in saving my political skin I would not have got involved in this process at the beginning and tried to fulfil my responsibility as an uncle for a young woman who I am very fond of and I have a large family and I would not have tried to do my best to resolve this the way that I have outlined to you earlier. This is above politics and saving my political skin is no consideration whatsoever in any of these matters. You see to, if I may say so your Honour.........
Judge Philpott: Well I don’t want you to make any comment on counsel’s questions.
The Witness:Well I am not going to.
Judge Philpott:Well don’t.
The Witness: Is the core of this not the alleged admission?
Judge Philpott: We will be coming to that.
The Witness: Well your Honour the suggestion that....
Judge Philpott: Look believe me Mr Murphy is there to stop questions, I have interrupted when I felt appropriate.
The Witness: Okay, well then let me without any..........
Ms McDermott: the witness has not answered the question.
Judge Philpott: I have got to take control of this ladies and gentlemen, everybody and I have said you are not allowed to make any comment to counsel, nobody makes comment to counsel. This is their function and the jury decide what they want in relation to the answers and I think you have given your final answer on that, unless Miss McDermott wants to come back.
Ms McDermott: I have only one other very short thing to ask the witness and it is this, he referred this morning to a Father McGoran in Clonard Monastery and I wonder if he would be good enough to tell the Court Father McGoran’s first name.
A: I don’t know his first name.
Q: Is it Robert?
A: I don’t know.
Q: Did he die in 2006?
A: He did.
Ms McDermott: Thank you.
Mr Murphy: No re-examination.
Judge Philpott: Thank you Mr Adams.
(The Witness Withdrew)
|THE LYING I|
|THE LYING II|
|THE LYING III|
|THE LYING IV|
|THE LYING V|
|THE LYING VI|