Gilligans given legal aid to fight CAB seizures
FORMER gang boss John Gilligan, his ex-wife and their two children have been granted free legal aid to pursue an appeal over the seizure of properties found to have been bought with the proceeds of crime.
The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) had opposed the Gilligans' application, saying the father had not disclosed a number of other assets which were not the subject of the proceeds of crime orders and he could therefore afford to fund his own appeal.
But the Supreme Court yesterday said that given that the Gilligans' financial circumstances had not changed since they lost their High Court case to prevent CAB taking possession of a number of properties, including Jessbrook Equestrian Centre in Enfield, Co Meath, it was satisfied to grant them legal aid certificates.
The Gilligans were represented yesterday by three London-based Queen's Counsels, Michael Bromley-Martin for John Gilligan; John Hardy for ex-wife Geraldine Gilligan, who was in court; and Paul Garlick for the children, Darren and Tracey.
Apart from the application for legal aid, the court was also asked by CAB to strike out the Gilligans' entire appeal over alleged failure to prosecute the matter in good time.
The appeal arises out of a decision in January 2011 of the High Court's Mr Justice Kevin Feeney that most of the Gilligan assets were the proceeds of crime.
These included Jessbrook, where Geraldine lived, and two houses in Lucan, Dublin, owned by Tracey and Darren.
The Gilligans claimed the properties were bought from legitimate earnings including from a £4m (€4.7m) loan to John Gilligan – currently coming towards the end of a 20-year sentence for drug dealing – to renovate his properties and from his gambling activities.
Mr Justice Feeney said he found these explanations incredible and improbable.
Yesterday, Ben O Floinn, for CAB, said that although efforts had been made by the Gilligans' lawyers to file their books of appeal, they had not been lodged because they lacked attested copies of Mr Justice Feeney's judgments which were the subject matter of the appeal.
Given the history of delay in
this case and failure to expedite the appeal, CAB was still seeking to have the appeal struck out.
Mr O Floinn said there was also the issue of whether the Gilligans were entitled to effectively re-litigate matters which had been dealt with by the Supreme Court as far back as 2008.
Chief Justice Susan Denham, with Mr Justice Frank Clarke and Mr Justice John MacMenamin, said that given that the only issue in relation to the books of appeal was the lack of an attested judgment, the court would not strike out the appeal.
However, it ordered the appeal be lodged immediately with a plain copy of the judgment and that the attested copy be lodged expeditiously. The court also said the appeal would benefit from case management.