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Ex-GAA star Mulligan has drink drive charge thrown out

By Majella O'Sullivan

Published 08/04/2016

A three-time All-Ireland winning GAA footballer has avoided a conviction for refusing to give a blood or urine sample, following his arrest on suspicion of being drunk in charge of a vehicle
A three-time All-Ireland winning GAA footballer has avoided a conviction for refusing to give a blood or urine sample, following his arrest on suspicion of being drunk in charge of a vehicle

A three-time All-Ireland winning GAA footballer has avoided a conviction for refusing to give a blood or urine sample, following his arrest on suspicion of being drunk in charge of a vehicle.

Judge James O’Connor dismissed the charge against former Tyrone player and BBC GAA pundit Owen Mulligan. The Irish judge said gardai had failed to warn him of his obligation to provide a blood or urine sample when he could not give a sample of his breath.

Judge O’Connor accepted that Mr Mulligan had suffered broken ribs resulting from a match in Tyrone five days before his arrest, and this constituted a “special” or “substantial” reason.

Supt Dan Keane told Listowel District Court in Co Kerry yesterday the first gardai had heard about Mr Mulligan’s claim to have suffered the injury was at a sitting of the court in September.

Judge O’Connor said: “He (Mulligan) was obstreperous, awful, aggressive and difficult to handle both inside and outside the garda station towards everybody and there is no doubt about that but the decision is to dismiss.” Mr Mulligan (34), of Church Street, Cookstown, Co Tyrone, was arrested at William Street, Listowel on August 29, 2014, on suspicion of being drunk in charge of a vehicle.

He had attended the wedding of his former teammate Michael Coleman the previous day.

Delivering his judgment, Judge O’Connor said gardai had not warned Mr Mulligan if a sample wasn’t given, this could “preclude” him from arguing “a special” or “substantial” reason for his incapacity to give a breath sample due to his rib injuries in his defence.

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