An anonymous reader has brought to my attention a new article from The Telegraph. The article asserts that Dolours Price has recently given a series of interviews in which she said that she had told the Belfast Project interviewer (Anthony McIntyre, I think) that Gerry Adams, now the president of Sinn Féin, was her commanding officer in the Provisional IRA and that Adams had ordered her to “disappear” Jean McConville, or at least to take part in the kidnapping. This is potentially at odds with the affidavit Ed Moloney gave to the High Court, in which he averred that Dolours Price “did not once mention the name ‘Jean McConville'” or “the subject of that unfortunate woman’s disappearance … nor that she received orders to disappear people from Gerry Adams or from any other IRA figure.”

There are a few possibilities to consider. Maybe Price’s account of what she told McIntyre is true and Moloney’s is false. Maybe Moloney’s account of what Price told McIntyre is true and Price’s is false. Maybe Moloney’s affidavit is carefully enough drawn that it is not literally at odds with Price’s account. But in any case, the apparent discrepancy between the two accounts of what Price said in her interview is precisely the reason that the the best evidence rule requires that the best evidence of the contents of the Price tapes—the tapes themselves—should be used in court. 1 The Belfast court directed McIntyre to submit his own affidavit addressing Moloney’s assertions, but I have not seen the McIntyre affidavit or even been able to confirm that he submitted it. We certainly will want to see how McIntyre himself describes the tapes.

It seems to me that Price’s statement, if true, puts her in some jeopardy of criminal prosecution, though I don’t know enough about Irish or UK law to say with any certainty. But it also seems to me that Moloney’s statement, if false, puts him in some jeopardy under New York law.

Of course, since we can’t know what the Price tape actually contains, it’s impossible to evaluate these most recent developments.

Notes:

  1. As I said in my last post, I don’t know whether the best evidence rule applies in Northern Ireland.