Gilligan sentenced to 5 years for threatening jail officers


Convicted drugs dealer John Gilligan smiled and said: "Keep it clean" after he was jailed for five years by the Special Criminal Court yesterday for threatening to kill two prison officers and their families.

The court ordered that Gilligan serve two concurrent five-year sentences at the end of the 28-year sentence he is serving for drugs offences.

Mr Justice Johnson said the court took "very seriously" the threats uttered by Gilligan to two prison officers after a row over the opening of a prison tuck shop. "They came from the accused, a person described by his own counsel, Mr Michael O'Higgins, as a notorious and dangerous criminal."

"Threats of the nature to have been uttered by a person such as John Gilligan are of the most serious kind," the judge added.

The court accepted that the prison atmosphere was "fraught" and could lead to flashpoints, he said, but Gilligan's threats did not fall within any acceptable limit that could be explained away by the prison atmosphere.

He said the court was satisfied that an assault had taken place, but was not satisfied that it fell within Section 3 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, 1997. Section 3 specifies an assault causing harm.

Gilligan had pleaded not guilty to assaulting prison officer Mr Martin Ryan, causing him harm at Portlaoise Prison on March 25th last year.

He had also denied threatening Mr Ryan that he and his family would be killed and making the same threats against another prison officer, Mr Declan O'Reilly.