Lawyer: Adams' brother won't surrender in NIreland

AP News
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Posted: Dec 24, 2009 7:42 AM

A brother of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams will not voluntarily surrender to Northern Ireland police to face 23 charges of sexually assaulting his daughter for years, his lawyer said Thursday.

Adams last week appealed to his brother Liam to turn himself in after the daughter, 36-year-old Aine Tyrell, went on Northern Ireland television to make public the outstanding charges against her father. She previously had her identity concealed.

Liam Adams fled to the Republic of Ireland to avoid a November 2008 Belfast hearing over the charges, which cover an eight-year period from the late 1970s to mid-1980s. Gerry Adams admitted he had known about the alleged abuse since 1987 but not told authorities _ in keeping with Sinn Fein's longtime policy of rejecting the Northern Ireland police.

Liam Adams' lawyer, Philip Breen, gave a statement to the Belfast newspaper Irish News saying his client would not return voluntarily to Northern Ireland because he would not receive a fair trial.

"He is not going to surrender himself up here at the moment," Breen said, referring to the British territory of Northern Ireland. "We will revisit that if and when we have to in the future."

Liam Adams did report to a Republic of Ireland police station Monday _ his first contact with police on either side of the border since his 2007 arrest in Belfast _ but was released because the Irish police have yet to receive an international arrest warrant from their northern counterparts.

The episode has embarrassed Gerry Adams and his Irish nationalist Sinn Fein, which spent decades backing the Irish Republican Army's attacks on civilians who cooperated with the police. The outlawed IRA renounced violence and disarmed in 2005.

In 2007, Sinn Fein accepted the legal authority of the Northern Ireland police as part of a successful deal to revive a power-sharing government alongside leaders of the province's British Protestant majority. That coalition continues to suffer deep internal tensions because of Protestant suspicions that Sinn Fein still seeks to shield its own members from the justice system.

The day after he appeared at an Irish police station, Liam Adams disappeared off the authorities' radar again. Irish broadcaster RTE reported that Liam Adams had checked out of a bed and breakfast where he had used a false name and given an incomplete Belfast address.

The lawyer, Breen, suggested that his client would fight to avoid extradition to Northern Ireland if he is eventually arrested south of the border. Such extradition battles typically last more than a year.

"If it (an international warrant) is served on him, he will be arrested. He knows that," he said. "He would be brought to a Dublin court _ that's his legal right _ and at that stage will decide what his best legal option is. He is fully entitled to utilize every mechanism available to him within the legal system."