Gerry Adams’s sex abuser brother, who is being held in high-security custody in the North amid concerns he is under threat, should be jailed for at least 15 years, a judge has been urged.
Liam Adams, aged 58, from Belfast, was convicted last month of raping and sexually assaulting his daughter Aine Dahlstrom in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Lawyer Ciaran Murphy told Judge Corinne Philpott guidelines indicated 15 years was an appropriate starting point for a sentence, before aggravating or mitigating factors were considered.
During a pre-sentence hearing at Belfast Crown Court, Mr Murphy insisted there were a number of aggravating features to Adams’s crimes that the judge should take into account, including the abuse of trust committed, the young age of his victim and the fact he repeatedly offended. He noted the dramatic and enduring impact on Ms Dahlstorm — who was in court yesterday — which he said was outlined in a “dignified” victim impact statement.
Arguing for a lesser sentence, defence lawyer Eilis McDermott highlighted her client’s health problems.
Bespectacled Adams, who walks with the aid of a stick, watched impassively from the dock as his lawyer detailed his ongoing treatment for both inflammation of the arteries and osteoarthritis.
Ms McDermott revealed Adams is being held in maximum security due to his family associations.
Judge Philpott said she would reserve her sentencing decision to give her time to consider all the matters raised. “I will deliver judgment as soon as I have made up my mind,” she said.
A jury of nine men and three women found Adams guilty on 10 abuse counts last month. The court yesterday heard he still maintains his innocence.
At the start of the hearing, Judge Philpott told the paedophile that eight outstanding counts against him would be left on the books.
His conviction has seen pressure heaped upon his Sinn Féin leader brother to explain why he did not alert the authorities to the abuse allegations when he first learned of them.
During a first trial earlier this year, which ultimately collapsed, the Louth TD said he first heard of the sex abuse claims in 1987 and, 13 years later, his younger brother admitted his guilt to him. He has been criticised for not telling police at the time of the revelations, with his statements to detectives not coming until 2007 and 2009.
PSNI officers ultimately made a recommendation that no prosecution be taken against him.
The North’s police ombudsman is investigating if detectives properly examined if Mr Adams covered up his brother’s crimes.
He insists he has committed no offence.
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