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John Gilligan released on bail two months after arrest in Spain

The gangland criminal was arrested by Spanish authorities in October.

John Gilligan
John Gilligan
Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

GANGLAND CRIMINAL JOHN Gilligan has been released from jail less than two months after his arrest for suspected drugs and weapon offences.

Gilligan was freed on bail by a Spanish judge following an application from his defence lawyer. He was released on Monday.

The 68-year-old has been banned from leaving Spain and ordered to sign on every fortnight at court as part of his release conditions.

He is thought to have returned to the villa near the Costa Blanca town of Torrevieja where he was arrested by Spanish authorities in relation to alleged connections to drugs and arms trafficking in late October.

Gilligan and the five other people held with him on October 20 are being investigated as part of a probe opened into alleged public health crimes, unlawful possession of firearms and membership of a criminal gang.

They have not yet been charged, as formal charges are only laid in Spain shortly before trial.

State prosecutors have not yet been invited to submit a formal accusation against them in the form of an indictment.

A judicial source in Spain indicated the ongoing court investigation by a judge tasked with deciding whether Gilligan and the five other suspects should face trial was nearly complete.

The source said: “The individual’s defence lawyer requested his conditional release on bail and the state prosecution service did not oppose the request.

“The court agreed to release this person on bail because it considers the investigation is nearly completed and less burdensome measures can be adopted for the person under investigation that will also guarantee he does not escape the action of justice.

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“As conditions of his release, as well as the payment of bail, he has been banned from leaving Spain, his passport has been removed and he has to sign on every fortnight at court. The investigation against this person and five others is ongoing.”

Gilligan was acquitted of the murder of journalist Veronica Guerin in 2001, but was sentenced to 28 years in prison for drug trafficking that same year.

He was released from Portlaoise Prison in 2013. An attempt was made on his life just weeks later when a gunman entered a pub close to where Gilligan was drinking. Gilligan later dismissed the attempt as a “Halloween prank”.

In 2014 another attempt on his life was made when he was shot four times as he attended a family christening in Clondalkin. After being discharged from hospital, Gilligan was pictured boarding a ferry to the UK.

About the author:

Gerard Couzens

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