Norris may yet release clemency letters

DAVID NORRIS has left open the possibility of publishing clemency letters on behalf of his former partner but said there were reasons other than legal for keeping them secret.

The presidential candidate said he did not know if people who had resigned from his campaign team when controversy first arose had seen the unpublished letters.

“I could not confirm it definitively. The answer is I do not know,” he told Today FM.

The 67-year-old said he “had to protect vulnerable people” and that he did not want to “rip open scars” by releasing the letters written on behalf of Ezra Nawi, who was convicted of statutory rape. Legal experts said they could not see anything in law preventing him from publishing at least parts of the pleas.

Asked if he would publish the letters if it there were no legal impediments, he said: “That’s a question that’s impossible to answer. Can I say very honestly, I don’t know, I can’t answer it.”

When asked if the public would ever get to see them, he said: “Never say never. I just don’t know at the moment. I just have to protect vulnerable people.”

During a series of interviews, Mr Norris said he still loved Ezra Nawi but that he is not in a relationship and would not have a partner in the Áras.

Mr Norris, who spoke Hebrew during an RTÉ interview on Wednesday, said he was initially unaware of the statutory rape case because he could not understand certain conversations.

“Phonecalls would come in early in the morning and I didn’t know what they were about. I discovered subsequently that they had something to do with that case.”

He said he did not know the identity of Mr Nawi’s victim, who was 15 at the time and is now in his 30s.

“What about his identity, what about his anonymity? Is it fair that this wound should be ripped up again?”

He would not go as far as recommending that his supporters give their second preference votes to Michael D Higgins, who advised Labour councillors to help his entry into the race.

“If Michael D’s number twos come to me then I’m very happy for my number twos to go to him.”

He said they were comrades and old friends. “I wish there was a position of vice president because then whichever one of us won it, the other could be their help-mate in this job.”

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