John Gilligan girlfriend cleared of drug charges after judge finds no evidence she was involved

Convicted drug dealer and other accomplices accepted deal, but Sharon Oliver denied responsibility

John Gilligan’s girlfriend has been cleared of drug charges she was tried on last week, a day after Gilligan escaped jail thanks to a plea bargain.

The convicted drug dealer returned to a Spanish court to support partner Sharon Oliver 24 hours after he was handed a suspended 22-month prison sentence.

Gilligan (71) confessed to being the owner of a pistol found buried in the back garden of his former Costa Blanca home and admitted running a Spain-to-Ireland cannabis and sleeping pill smuggling ring after opting against running the risk of going to trial and getting a lengthy prison sentence if convicted.

But Ms Oliver (61) had not signed the deal that Gilligan and seven other accomplices, including his son Darren, accepted last Monday and told Torrevieja-based Orihuela Criminal Court Number Two: “I did nothing wrong.”


Today judge Francisco Ruiz-Jarabo acquitted her of the two crimes she was tried on. He concluded in an 11-page written ruling: “It has not been proven Sharon intervened in the illicit operations carried out by the others.”

He said a conversation intercepted by police before their arrests in which Gilligan told his girlfriend the 20,000 tablets they had at home were enough for “three or four deliveries” did not make her criminally responsible. The judge ruled the 1,000-plus powerful sleeping pills dubbed Zimmos – used by heroin addicts to numb pain – found in her bag when police raided the couple’s former home in October 2020 were “obviously not only for her own consumption” despite her medical ailments which include bowel problems and a hernia.

But he implied he was acquitting the London-born woman partly because of a legal technicality by pointing out one of the crimes she was charged with was that of exporting and supplying medicines without licence to do so under article 361 of the Spanish penal code. “Article 368 of the Spanish penal code punishes mere possession over and above an amount considered valid for self-consumption. “But article 361 doesn’t contemplate the concept of mere possession because its precept is the sanctioning of those who make, import, export and market them or store them with that aim.

“Equating the carrying of a high number of pills with ‘storage’ implies an extensive interpretation of the penal precept that is obviously not admissible.” He added: “Nothing in the case files or the evidence given in court by police includes any information that could link the accused to the other crimes, such as cannabis trafficking or the unlawful possession of weapons.

“In short no witness or objective evidence can corroborate in a comprehensive way the existence of Sharon’s active participation in the facts that have been proven against the others.”

Ms Oliver is thought to have been given the good news about her acquittal in hospital in the UK, where she is due to undergo a hernia operation.

Gilligan, who has made a series of extraordinary confessions about his life of crime in a three-part TV series which began on Virgin Media on September 4, is believed to be with her in Britain.

Prosecutors were demanding a six-year prison sentence for the gangster’s girlfriend if found guilty of a crime of trafficking with cannabis and another of supplying and exporting medicines without permission.