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'I'm an old man, let me out on bail, I committed no crime', begs Gilligan

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Ex-gang boss John Gilligan

Ex-gang boss John Gilligan

Ex-gang boss John Gilligan

Former gang boss John Gilligan has told a court he would honour the terms of bail if it was granted because he is old now and "can't be looking over my shoulder".

John Gilligan (66), of Greenfort Crescent, Dublin, was speaking at Coleraine Magistrates Court yesterday after being arrested with €23,000 in a suitcase at Belfast International Airport in August.

He appeared via video link from Maghaberry Prison, where he has been in custody since his arrest, accused of "attempting to remove criminal property" from the North.

The charge relates to August 23, when the defendant was arrested attempting to board a flight from Belfast to Spain.

At the time, Britain's National Crime Agency said officers recovered around €23,000 at the scene.

At yesterday's court hearing, after being told he was being remanded in continuing custody until a week before Christmas, Gilligan told the court: "I declared the money to the customs. I committed no crime whatsoever."

Regarding bail, he said: "I never failed to turn up for bail in my life."

Honouring

He said he had always honoured bail conditions as a young man, and added: "I'm an old man now. I can't be looking over my shoulder."

Gilligan entered the video link booth at the prison wearing a fleece and clutching papers.

He confirmed his name to the court and confirmed he could hear proceedings.

District Judge Liam McNally said he had been told at the last hearing of the case last month that the full file was to be submitted on November 1.

A prosecutor told the court the full file had been received, but one of their officials wants to meet investigating officers on November 30 and asked for a further adjournment.

Judge McNally said that was "progress", but defence barrister Plunkett Nugent said it was "very limited progress".

Mr Nugent said there had been "one reason upon another" for continued delays.

He said it was not a difficult case, and added that a preliminary enquiry - the legal step to send a case to the Crown Court - could, in his opinion, take place within days.

Mr Nugent said his client had been stopped with an amount of money for which he had given a "full account".

Mr Nugent said the authorities on both sides of the border had made enquiries and his client's explanation had been backed up by "written and sworn statements".

He said the delay was "beginning to become interminable" and it was all building to another bail application being made.

Judge McNally noted that bail had already been refused twice by the Magistrates Court and twice at the High Court.

He said there would soon be a meeting between the directing officer in the case at the Public Prosecution Service and the investigating officer and remanded Gilligan in continuing custody to December 17 when, he said, progress in the case could again be reviewed.


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