Thursday 17 January 2019

Gangster John Gilligan faces Christmas behind bars as latest bail application is refused

Accused: John Gilligan had a bag containing nearly €23,000
Accused: John Gilligan had a bag containing nearly €23,000

Nevin Farrell

JOHN Gilligan, who was arrested with 23,000 euros in a suitcase at Belfast International Airport in the summer, faces spending Christmas behind bars after his latest bail application was refused on Monday.

A defence barrister told Coleraine Magistrates Court that Gilligan (66), with an address in west Dublin, had been on remand in custody for 115 days on a charge of "attempting to remove criminal property" from Northern Ireland.

The full charge is that the 'Defendant on 23/08/18, attempted to remove criminal property from Northern Ireland, contrary to Article 3 of the Criminal Attempts and Conspiracy (Northern Ireland) Order 1983 and Section 327(1)(e) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.'

Gilligan appeared via video link from Maghaberry Prison where he has been in custody since being arrested.

The defendant was arrested while attempting to board a flight from Belfast International Airport to Spain.

At the time the National Crime Agency (NCA) said officers recovered around €23,000 at the scene.

In court today, Gilligan confirmed his name and confirmed he could see and hear the court.

A defence lawyer said a bail application was being made on the basis of a "delay" in the case.

A National Crime Agency investigator told the court the full file in the case was submitted to prosecutors on November 1 and a fortnight ago he held a meeting with the Assistant Director of the Public Prosecution Service to discuss the case.

The investigator said the only thing outstanding on the file is an International Letter of Request which was previously submitted in relation to enquiries with Gardaí and the Criminal Assets Bureau.

He said the letter was still going through various departments including the Home Office who would then send it to the gardaí.

The investigator said he wanted information from the Republic since the defendant was facing a "money laundering" offence.

At Monday's court, the defence lawyer said at Belfast International Airport in August his client had told officials he had the money with him and had given an account of it.

The lawyer said around €15,000 of the money was to pay for rent in Spain.

The barrister said his client had been in custody for "115 days" and he believed the risk of absconding could be dealt with by Gilligan being released on bail with an electronic tag, curfew and daily reporting to police.

District Judge Liam McNally said the defendant had a number of previous bail applications refused on the grounds of a likelihood of committing further offences and not turning up for his trial.

He said the fresh bail application was on the grounds of a delay and said further information was being sought from the Gardaí and Criminal Assets Bureau.

The judge said it was getting close to a stage when the time it taking for the case to proceed would be an issue but he was satisfied progress was being made.

However, Judge McNally said he was giving prosecutors "a yellow card" and said if a "timetable" for the case is not forthcoming in January he could re-visit the issue of bail.

He refused bail and remanded the defendant in continuing custody to appear back at court in mid-January via video link.

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