Tuesday 21 May 2019

Gilligan 'wants to get on with life' but is denied bail again

Pint-sized thug John Gilligan
Pint-sized thug John Gilligan

Pint-sized former gang boss John Gilligan, who is accused of money laundering offences after being arrested at Belfast International Airport with a suitcase containing nearly €23,000, has failed in a new bid to be released from custody.

Gilligan was refused bail again despite insisting the cash came from family and friends.

Appearing via prison video link, the 66-year-old told a High Court judge in the North: "I just want to get on with my life."

During the fresh hearing, prosecutors also disputed claims his life is under threat.

Gilligan, with an address at Greenfort Crescent, Dublin, was detained at Belfast International Airport on August 23 as he was about to board a flight to Alicante.

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.

One man had allegedly purchased a watch from him for €5,000, the court was told.

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

With bail refused last month due to concerns the accused could abscond, he returned to the High Court in a bid to establish a change of circumstances.

Defence barrister Plunkett Nugent had stressed the need to keep any subsequent living arrangements undisclosed.

He contended that his client is facing a "real and immediate" threat to his life.

Disputing that assertion yesterday, however, Crown counsel said: "The position the prosecution are now taking is they are not accepting there's a threat to the applicant's life."


His lawyers argued that he has no intention of fleeing while involved in ongoing legal proceedings over a "vast property portfolio" in Ireland.

Mr Nugent also submitted that letters have been sent to the UK's National Crime Agency setting out accounts of money given to the accused.

"That demolishes the case that is alleged against the defendant," he said.

However, denying bail once more, Judge Patrick Kinney held that no change in circumstances had been established.

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