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On-bail thug Gilligan's Spanish airport rant over €25 baggage fee

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John Gilligan (Pic: Sunday World)

John Gilligan (Pic: Sunday World)

John Gilligan (Pic: Sunday World)

John Gilligan has been spotted in Spain while awaiting a court hearing in the North over money laundering and criminal property allegations.

Bemused onlookers saw Gilligan (67) at the Ryanair check-in desk at the airport in Alicante on Friday.

Gilligan remains on bail after he was allegedly caught last August trying to take €23,000 in a suitcase on a flight from Belfast to Spain.

One witness said the thug was less than pleased about being asked to pay a €25 fee for carry-on baggage.

"We were all queuing up for the flight back. Gilligan was standing with another couple and as the steward walked down she seemed to spot that his bag was oversized for free carry-on," the witness told the Sunday World.

"It was basically like a big briefcase and she asked him to come up to the desk.

"It was funny really because a lot of people in the queue would have known who he is, but obviously the staff were Spanish and his name meant nothing to them.

"When he got to the desk he was told he'd have to pay the fee to bring the bag on board and he was really put out.

Stewing

"He basically went off on one then, saying it was a scandal and a sham and that Ireland - whatever that had to do with it - was the most corrupt country on Earth."

The witness said Gilligan eventually paid the carry-on fee but was "stewing".

During a bail hearing in January he promised the judge at Coleraine Magistrates' Court he would turn up for his case.

"I wouldn't run," he said, adding that he had been turning up at court cases "since 1966".

The prosecutor said the directing officer in the case made a decision to proceed on two charges. The second charge is possessing criminal property. Gilligan has denied both.

When told that the case was not going to the crown court, District Judge Liam McNally said that "dramatically" changed the issue of bail.

The prosecutor confirmed that if found guilty, the maximum sentence the accused could face would be six months.

Gilligan had already served five months on remand, the equivalent of a 10-month sentence.

The prosecutor said investigators had concerns about the defendant absconding.

However, Judge McNally said if Gilligan did not come back to court, the case against him would proceed in his absence and if convicted he could lose any bail and surety along with the cash seized at the airport.

Judge McNally granted bail on the sum of £500 (€580) along with an independent surety of £5,000 (€5,800).

Another condition was that Gilligan has to report to a police station in Belfast on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.