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Gilligan loses appeal against constitutionality of sentences

The Supreme Court has rejected a bid by the criminal challenging consecutive sentences he was given for mobile phone use.

Image: Photocall Ireland

Updaed 10.4pm

THE SUPREME COURT dismissed legal proceedings by crime boss John Gilligan earlier today that challenged the constitutionality of sentences he received for mobile phone offences committed while in prison.

Gilligan is due to be released from the high security prison in Portlaoise tomorrow, where he has been serving a 20 year sentence for drug trafficking.

While behind bars, he was also found on two separate occasions to be in possession of a mobile phone, and received extra six- and eight- month sentences for those offences.  It was ordered that the sentences be served concurrently, after his initial term.

The criminal lodged appeals against those District Court decisions, and also launched legal proceedings against the constitutionality of the mandatory imposition of consecutive sentences, rather than concurrent ones.

Gilligan’s lawyers challenged the provision on a number of grounds, including that it unlawfully restricted the discretion of a judge, and therefore breached the constitutional principle of separation of powers.

In its judgement today, the Supreme Court dismisses Gilligan’s challenge, stating that the provision “serves a lawful purpose and operates in clearly defined and lawful circumstances”.

Gilligan was sentenced to an extra six months in prison in February of last year for his second mobile phone offence. The previous year, he was given an eight month sentence for having a Nokia phone in his cell in Portlaoise in July 2008.

He has also served extra time in prison for assaulting a prison officer.

The gang boss was initially given  28 years in prison in 2001 for drug importation. This was later reduced to 20 years on appeal (with the term further reduced through remission).

First published 12.04pm

Read: Gilligan: I won’t do interviews, not even for €1 million >

Read: Gilligan’s Kildare estate up for sale – and could fetch €500k >

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