Judgment reserved on John Gilligan bid for report’s costs

Forensic accountant’s report intended for use in appeal over seizure of assets by CAB

John Gilligan, who was not in court, was released from prison last year after serving 17 years for drug dealing. Photograph:  Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

John Gilligan, who was not in court, was released from prison last year after serving 17 years for drug dealing. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

 

The Supreme Court has reserved judgment on applications by John Gilligan and his wife Geraldine for legal aid to cover the costs of a forensic accountant’s report intended for use in their appeal over the seizure of assets by the Criminal Assets Bureau.

John Gilligan, who was not in court, was released from prison last year after serving 17 years for drug dealing.

In their Supreme Court appeal, John and Geraldine Gilligan, and their adult children Darren and Tracey, want to analyse an accountant’s report obtained by the bureau concerning seized assets of theirs include Jessbrook Equestrian Centre in Enfield, Co Meath, and two houses in Lucan, Dublin.

The assets were seized on foot of High Court orders that they represented the proceeds of crime. The Gilligans dispute that finding.

Last year, the Supreme Court granted all four Gilligans legal aid to pursue their appeal.

A five-judge Supreme Court yesterday heard a preliminary application by John and Geraldine Gilligan to extend the legal aid so as to cover the cost of obtaining a forensic accountant’s report concerning how the seized assets were acquired. 

Michael Bromley-Martin QC, for John Gilligan, said the report was necessary to challenge findings by the High Court that Mr Gilligan’s assets represented the proceeds of crime and were not, as Mr Gilligan argued, acquired with the proceeds of gambling.

Benedict Ó Floinn BL, for the CAB, asked the court to dismiss the application. This was essentially an application to have new evidence admitted when no new evidence had been identified in the application, he argued.

This was an effort “to open a new avenue in regards to matters that have been litigated and relitigated”, counsel submitted.

Citing a recent judgment by Mr Justice George Birmingham dismissing an application by the Gilligans to have proceedings brought against them by the CAB struck out , Mr Ó Floinn said there was “a limit” to how often, and in how many ways, the same point can be argued.

Mr Justice Birmingham said there was “a limit to how long and how often any drum can be banged”, counsel added.  

The Supreme Court, comprising the Chief Justice, Ms Justice Susan Denham, presiding and sitting with Mr Justice John Murray, Mr Justice Frank Clarke, Mr Justice John MacMenamin and Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne, reserved judgment.