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Wednesday, 11 March 2009

John Gizzi walked away from court a free man last week after a dramatic release.

John Gizzi walked away from court a free man last week after a dramatic release.
Rhyl’s “Mr Big” walked out of Mold Crown Court on Thursday under tight police security.The 36-year-old spent three years behind bars for conspiracy to supply counterfeit cigarettes and serious assaults.The man who was once described as ruling the town on threats and intimidation was due for release last December but was put behind bars for another seven years after failing to pay back £2.6m under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).An original order found Gizzi had benefited to the tune of £6.89m from his crimes.But a judge at Mold decided the £1m he had paid back was enough to secure his release, as the £2.6m figure had been calculated before the current downturn in the economy.Gizzi raised the cash by selling off his assets – including a luxury home in St Asaph, originally valued at £1.7m but eventually sold for £850,000.As well as the mansion, 20 other mortgage properties were sold, and a Rolex watch.Four number plates – JDG 1 to 4 – had also been sold along with a fleet of luxury cars including a Bentley Continental, RangeRover and a Mercedes.Judge John Rogers QC discharged the POCA confiscation order and Gizzi was formally released at about 2pm.After completing paperwork, he was covered with an umbrella, and bundled into the back of his parents' RangeRover Vogue, just after 4pm.He was then driven across the road to The Glasfryn public house where he was joined by family members.
Gizzi’s trial in 2006 heard he was a "thug" and "bully" who assaulted homeless people and preyed on the weak and vulnerable.A prosecution application that Gizzi should be responsible for the costs of the Crown Prosecution Service and the receiver appointed to sell the property was rejected.The judge said those costs should come out of the reduced order. But the court heard the regional asset recovery team could pursue Gizzi for more money if they thought he could afford it in the future.In 2006 Gizzi admitted two charges of causing grievous bodily harm, one of assault causing actual bodily harm and one of conspiracy to supply counterfeit cigarettes.He also asked for 22 offences of mortgage fraud – involving almost £1.5m – to be taken into consideration.


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