John Gilligan wins temporary High Court injunction

John Gilligan has obtained a High Court order preventing a judge from hearing the convicted drug dealer’s appeal against his conviction for having a mobile phone in his cell from proceeding to sentencing him, should his conviction be upheld.

Today at the High Court, Gilligan obtained a temporary High Court injunction against Circuit Court Judge Doirbhile Flanagan, who is due to hear the 60-year-old’s appeal against his conviction and eight-month sentence for having a mobile phone in his Portlaoise prison cell in July, 2008.

The injunction was granted, on an ex-parte one-side-only basis, by Mr Justice Michael Peart today.

Gilligan was charged after prison officers searched his cell in July, 2008 and found a mobile phone, a SIM card, a charger, two pairs of ladies underwear and tablets.

The 60-year-old tried to suggest that the phone had been planted in his cell. When the matter came before Judge Gerard Haughton in March, 2011 he dismissed Gilligan’s claims.

Judge Haughton proceeded to find Gilligan guilty of the offence and sentenced him to eight months in prison in addition to the term already imposed on him.

Today, John Peart SC for Gilligan told the High Court that his client is bringing a constitutional challenge against the State to the provision of the 1976 Criminal Justice Act which requires any sentence imposed on a prisoner for an offence committed while serving a prison sentence must be served consecutively.

Counsel also submitted that Gilligan was doubly punished for the same offence. The Governor of the Prison had found that Gilligan had breached prison rules for having the mobile phone, and had sentenced him to a period of solitary confinement.

Counsel argued that in light of the constitutional challenge it would be unfair on his client if Judge Flanagan, who is due to hear the appeal tomorrow was to proceed to impose a sentence on him, should she uphold his conviction.

Counsel said that his client’s proposed constitutional challenge and intention to seek an injunction was raised with Judge Flanagan last week.

Mr Justice Peart said that the injunction was to stay in place until early June, and made the case returnable before him.

The Judge gave liberty for any relevant party to mention the case before him on notice to the other side.

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