Liam Adams case adjourned for sentencing deliberations

The paedophile brother of Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams should not be subject to lengthy sex offender supervision measures on his eventual release from prison, as he does not pose a serious risk to the public, his lawyer has urged.

Belfast Crown Court yesterday heard final legal submissions on the case of Liam Adams before Judge Corinne Philpott adjourned to commence her sentencing deliberations.

Adams, aged 58, from west Belfast, was convicted last month of raping and sexually assaulting his daughter, Aine Dahlstrom, in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Judge Philpott, who has already heard substantive pleas on mitigating and aggravating factors in the case, had sought additional information on potential monitoring that could be applied on release. While probation authorities had already compiled a pre-sentence report on Liam Adams, the judge subsequently asked the relevant probation officer to provide her views on whether a time-limited custody probation order or the potentially more restrictive, and possibly indefinite, sex offender-specific Article 26 measures would be needed.

The judge said she had received the probation officer’s addendum to the original report, but would not read it until she heard final submissions from lawyers.

Adams’s barrister Eilis McDermott QC, arguing against Article 26 measures, said it was the defence’s view the probation report contained nothing to indicate Adams would pose a serious risk on release.

“In our respectful submission in the probation report and the addendum that your honour has received, there’s no evidence on which your honour could be satisfied that there’s a serious risk or the need to protect the public from serious harm from the accused in this case,” said Ms McDermott.

The prosecution has provided written submissions on the matter to the judge.

Adams, who is being sentenced under the terms of historic legislation that existed at the time of the offences, was not present for the short mention hearing.

Judge Philpott told his solicitor to inform him she had reached the point where she could start deliberations.

“I am adjourning to consider sentence and I will get it done as soon as I can.”

At a previous pre-sentence hearing, the prosecution urged the judge to send Adams to jail for at least 15 years.

In mitigation, the defence highlighted the paedophile’s health problems and claimed the conditions of his sentence were set to be “more onerous” than other prisoners due to the fact he had to be held in high security accommodation for his safety.

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