Wednesday 13 December 2017

John Gilligan may seek hearing on mobile phone sentence

John Gilligan
John Gilligan

Brian Kavanagh

LAWYERS for convicted drug dealer John Gilligan may seek a Special Criminal Court hearing on an alleged error in the six month sentence imposed on him for the possession of a mobile phone in court.

In February of this year, the 59-year-old was sentenced to a further six months in prison after pleading guilty to the possession of a mobile phone at Portlaoise District Court in 2010.

He was originally sentenced to 28 years in prison in 2001 after being convicted of the importation and possession of cannabis resin, but this was reduced to 20 years on appeal.

In 2002 he was given a consecutive two year prison sentence having been convicted of threatening to kill two prison officers, while in 2011 he was also given an eight month consecutive sentence for having a mobile phone in his cell in Portlaoise prison.

A native of Ballyfermot in Dublin, in 2001 Gilligan was cleared of the 1996 murder of Sunday Independent journalist Veronica Guerin.

Counsel for Gilligan, Mr John Peart SC, this morning told the non-jury court his client believed there was a discrepancy in the sentence hearing transcript which may have lead to the tariff being “not as accurately stated as it should have been”.

Mr Garnet Orange BL, for the State, asked that Gilligan’s counsel put any complaint of an alleged defect in writing before the matter proceeded.

Presiding judge Mr Justice Paul Butler said that Gilligan’s lawyers could mention the issue at any time but the court was not going to “put everybody to the trouble and expense” of bringing Gilligan to court when it could be arranged to “have him here on video”.

He said the court would grant liberty to mention the matter at any time and direct that Gilligan appear before the court via video link to Portlaoise prison, should his appearance be necessary.

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