Wednesday 22 November 2017

Supreme Court reserves judgment in Gilligans' case against CAB

John Gilligan arrives at court Photo: Collins
John Gilligan arrives at court Photo: Collins

Tim Healy

The Supreme Court has reserved judgment in a case brought by convicted drug dealer John Gilligan and his family challenging proceeds of crime orders in relation to some of their assets.

The Gilligans claim they did not receive a proper trial when his assets were frozen by the State in 1996.

Subsequent court rulings based on that decision were flawed or invalid, they argued.

The property included an equestrian centre in Enfield, Co Meath, which Gilligan had bought and developed before he spent 17 years in prison for drug trafficking. Other property owned by his former wife Geraldine, daughter Tracy and son Darren, was also found to be the proceeds of crime.

The Gilligans claimed the properties were bought from legitimate earnings. They also included two houses in Lucan, Dublin, one belonging to Tracy, and another house in Blanchardstown, Dublin, belonging to Darren.

Yesterday, Ben Ó Floinn BL, for the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB), rejected claims they did not get a proper hearing. The 1996 freezing orders, confirmed in a High Court decision in July 1997, were obtained in accordance with legal requirements, he said.

The Gilligans resiled from the opportunity to challenge those orders because they took the view that they would await the next stage provided for under the Proceeds of Crime Act 1996 which was an application by CAB to forfeit the property to the State, Mr Ó Floinn said.

Michael Bromley Martin QC, for the Gilligans, disagreed with this characterisation about their approach to the freezing orders.

They were assured by the authorities that the orders were of a temporary nature, he said.

He said at no time leading up to the final freezing orders had the family been represented.

Mr Ó Floinn said there was "something of a bifurcation in this case" in that, while Mr Gilligan had disclaimed an interest in most of the property and it was other members of the family who owned it, he directed a good deal of the subsequent litigation, even though "he was the person who has least in terms of property interest". The court reserved its decision.

Irish Independent

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