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Friday, October 9, 1998 Published at 18:46 GMT 19:46 UK

Gerry Adams sues RUC

Gerry Adams claims false imprisonment

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has given court evidence in support of his 10,000 claim against the RUC.

The West Belfast MP is claiming false imprisonment, trespass to his person and abuse of authority by the Royal Ulster Constabulary, after an alleged incident on the city's Lower Ormeau Road in July 1996.

Mr Adams claims he was held for four hours at a roadblock the night before an Orange Order parade as part of a police "curfew".

Unable to move

He told Judge Patrick Markey QC, sitting at Belfast Recorders Court, that a "scrum" of RUC men pressed so tightly around him that he was unable to move for about 20 minutes.

"I could not even reach into my pockets to get my mobile phone or a hanky," he added.

He told Judge Patrick Markey QC that after being hemmed in by police for more than three hours he was eventually allowed through a cordon.

[ image: The alleged incident arose out of a
The alleged incident arose out of a "curfew" imposed the night before an Orange march
Opening the case, Arthur Harvey QC said: "Under the cover of the impenetrable mask of security, the police sought to confound the plainest truth - that the action against Mr Adams was capricious, arbitrary, unlawful and was based on hostility to him."

Cross-examined by Ronnie Weatherup QC, for the RUC, Mr Adams said he viewed the RUC as the political wing of Orange-Unionism.

Mr Adams said he supported the right of Orangemen to march as they were a legitimate and necessary part of "what we are".

But he felt they should not go into areas where they were unwelcome.

Mr Joe Costelloe, a member of the Irish Senate, who was in the Lower Ormeau as an observer, said once Mr Adams was allowed through the police cordon he played a calming role.

"Immediately afterwards the tension dissipated and things quietened down," he said.

The hearing was adjourned until January 11.

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