The Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has said that four men who failed to appear for sentencing at a Belfast court yesterday should have turned up and he appealed to them to do so now. 

The four men, Gerard McCrory, Liam Rainey, Thomas Tolan and Harry Fitzsimons, all from Belfast, were due for sentencing for their roles in the attempted kidnapping of the dissident republican, Bobby Tohill, in 2004.

The court issued bench warrents for four men. Two years ago the Independent Monitoring Commission suggested the assault and kidnapping were undertaken by the IRA.

They were arrested in February 2004, after a group of men entered a Belfast city centre bar, assaulted dissident Republican, Bobby Tohill, and took him away in van.

Shortly after the PSNI intercepted a vehicle, discovered an injured Mr Tohill inside and arrested a number of men.

It emerged the PSNI had CCTV footage to assist with the prosecution.

Subsequently four men pleaded guilty to their role in the crime. They were out on bail but due in court yesterday for sentencing.

When they failed to turn up a bench warrant was issued for their immediate arrests.