Gerry Adams' brother to be extradited

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The Independent Online

The brother of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams is to be extradited to Northern Ireland to stand trial on allegations that he sexually abused his daughter.

Liam Dominic Adams is wanted by the Police Service of Northern Ireland in relation to 18 alleged offences against Aine Tyrell, who has waived her right to anonymity.

The 56-year-old, who denies the allegations, lost his fight against extradition from the Irish Republic at the High Court in Dublin.

Mr Adams has 15 days to lodge an appeal against the court's ruling before the extradition order takes effect.

Mr Adams had claimed he will not get a fair trial after the Sinn Fein leader publicly supported his niece.

The sex abuse claims became public in December 2009 when Ms Tyrell was featured in a television documentary.

He is accused of rape, indecent assault and gross indecency at various addresses in Belfast between March 1977 and March 1983, when the alleged victim was aged between four and 10.

Mr Adams, who was supported in court by another daughter Claire Smith and her friend, showed no emotion as sections of the 64-page judgment were read by Mr Justice John Edwards.

The judge rejected arguments the accused could not get a fair trial because of pre-trial publicity and comments by his brother, a delay in bringing charges and changes in the jury selection in Northern Ireland.

"He must look to the courts of the requesting State to protect his rights," said Mr Justice Edwards.

"Those courts would be better placed to deal with those issues."

The judge put a three-day stay on the deadline for an appeal to be lodged.

Mr Adams was granted bail until the 15-day appeal window opens on Thursday.

Ms Tyrell, who had travelled from Belfast for the hearing, said she felt more positive as she left the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin flanked by family members.

"I'm feeling a bit more positive and I'm ready to take what comes," she said.

"It's only wee baby steps."

The 38-year-old first lodged a complaint, with her mother Sarah Adams, to police in Belfast on January 21 1987. She claimed her father "would get into her bed and always do the same things to her".

Mr Adams, whose last address was Bernagh Avenue in Belfast, denied the allegations when arrested in February 2007.

He was first brought before the court in Dublin last March after he handed himself in at Bridewell Garda Station by appointment - the day after a European Arrest Warrant was sanctioned.

A senior garda told the court Mr Adams had been aware of the allegations since 1987 and that they were reinstated in January 2006.

A decision was taken to prosecute Mr Adams after he was questioned in February 2007 and 11 months later, but police were unable to serve notice as he had left his address.

He later appeared at Sligo Garda Station where he allegedly told officers he wanted their help because he could not get a fair trial in Northern Ireland due to the publicity.

Mr Adams had denied he fled Northern Ireland a year ago to escape prosecution but told the court he feared he and his children were in danger after media reports.

In an affidavit to the High Court last July, Mr Adams said the case has been prejudiced by the delay in bringing charges and he had been widely condemned as a guilty man by the media and persons of repute and positions of authority, including his brother.

Mr Justice Edwards rejected claims the issuing of a European Arrest Warrant was politically motivated.

"While other people on both sides of the Northern Ireland political spectrum, including the respondent's prominent brother, may have made politically motivated public pronouncements or have commentated inappropriately, and in a self-serving way, on the case there is no evidence that the Public Prosecution Service in Northern Ireland has been subjected to, and has yielded to, pressure from external sources, and has acted out of political motivations," he said.

The judge also said the High Court was entitled to presume that the courts in the issuing state will take all appropriate steps to ensure Mr Adams receives a fair trial.

"In that regard the court would further remark it is quite incorrect for the respondent to contend that he no longer enjoys the presumption of innocence," Mr Justice Edwards added.

"He does enjoy the presumption of innocence notwithstanding opinions as to his guilt expressed by prominent persons, including his brother, in the public media and such evidence as has been adduced does not established, or even tend to suggest, that a court in Northern Ireland would be willing or incapable of taking whatever steps might be required to vindicate and uphold the respondent's presumption of innocence as an aspect of his right to a fair trial."