Gerry Adams fails to have convictions for IRA prison escape overturned

Gerry Adams fails to have convictions for IRA prison escape overturned

FORMER Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has failed in a legal bid to overturned two historic convictions for attempting to escape prison.

Adams was convicted of the crimes while he was detained without trial at the Maze Prison in 1975.

The lawyers representing the 69-year-old, who was not in court, claimed his detention was unlawful as he was in prison due to the British Government’s controversial internment policy in Northern Ireland.

They contested that the 1972 Detention of Terrorists Order required senior level authorisation.

However, three Court of Appeals judges rejected his case in Belfast this morning.

"The Court of Appeal was satisfied that the ICO (Interim Custody Order) was valid having been made by the minister on behalf of the secretary of state," read the judgment.

"The court was accordingly satisfied that the appellant's convictions are safe and dismissed the appeal."

Mr Adams was first detained in March 1972, but was released in June that year to engage in secret talks in London.

He was rearrested in 1973 and reinterned at Maze Prison – which was at the time known as the Long Kesh internment camp.

The first alleged escape attempt occurred that year, while the second – which saw a 'look alike' of Adams kidnapped and given a fake beard to trick prison officers – happened in 1974.

In a statement, Gerry Adams said he would be appealing the latest judgement.

"I am disappointed, though not entirely surprised, by today’s High Court decision," he said.

"I will now discuss with my legal advisers what options, including an appeal, are open to me."