herald

Thursday 21 March 2019

Gilligan claims discrimination in bid for freedom

John Gilligan is accused of money laundering offences
John Gilligan is accused of money laundering offences

Former gang boss John Gilligan - who is accused of money laundering offences in the North - is set to go to the UK's highest court in a bid to secure release from custody.

The Dublin criminal was arrested at a Belfast airport last summer with a suitcase containing nearly €23,000.

Gilligan (66) has been on remand in prison since then, with repeated bail applications denied.

His lawyers told a High Court judge he has suffered discrimination compared to those being held while awaiting trial in other parts of the UK.

Satisfied

They contended that despite a 70-day maximum period operating in England and Wales, Gilligan has now been detained twice as long.

Refusing leave to take an appeal to the Supreme Court, Mr Justice Gerry McAlinden ruled yesterday there was no point of law of general public importance.

"The court is satisfied that there is no discrimination in this particular case," he said.

Following the verdict, Gilligan's solicitor confirmed he will now petition directly for a hearing in London.

"We will be taking Mr Gilligan's case to the Supreme Court and asking it to rule on the issue of detention time limits for the North of Ireland," Niall O'Murchu said.

The accused, of Greenfort Crescent, Dublin, was detained at Belfast International Airport last August 23 as he was about to board a flight to Alicante.

At the time the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) said officers recovered around €23,000 from his luggage.

He faces a charge of attempting to remove criminal property.

At previous hearings the prosecution alleged he had "sold up" and was leaving Ireland behind for a new life in Spain.

The money in his suitcase was said to have come from donations and the sale of belongings.

Gilligan's legal team insisted he only intended to rent a property in Spain for a limited period of time.

Fresh attempts to secure his release on bail centred on claims of delay in the case.

Gilligan, it was contended, is now approaching 140 days' detention.

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