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Gilligan 'had ladies' pants in prison cell'

ITEMS of women's underwear and a mobile phone were found during a search of convicted drug dealer John Gilligan's prison cell, a court has been told.

The mobile phone, which was wrapped in cling film, a phone charger and various other items were found along with women's knickers during the criminal's cell search in Portlaoise Prison.

A sitting of Portlaoise District Court heard evidence yesterday that several prison guards found the items at Cell 17 on E Landing on July 30 in 2008.

Gilligan (57), who is due for release in 2013, could serve an extra five years if convicted of the offence of possessing a mobile phone in prison.

Prison officer Martin Dunne who had been working on E Landing on the night of July 29, recalled hearing a conversation in Gilligan's cell at around midnight.

The following morning, assistant chief officer Tom Dunne was informed of the incident. He organised a search under the 2007 Prisons Act.

The court heard that a Nokia mobile phone and a mobile phone charger were uncovered during the initial search of the cell. During a later search, eight and a half blue tablets and a SIM card were recovered from a locker in the cell. The tablets were later analysed and found to be legal.

Two pairs of women's pants were also uncovered during the searches of Gilligan's cell. During cross-examination, Gilligan accused a number of the officers of lying in their evidence. The case continues.