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Ulster rugby star Roger Wilson given three-year road ban after second drink-drive offence

By Staff Reporter

Published 10/07/2015

Roger Wilson in action for Ulster
Roger Wilson in action for Ulster

Ulster rugby player Roger Wilson was yesterday banned from driving and fined for refusing to give police a breath specimen.

The former Ulster player of the year and Northampton Saints man (33) pleaded guilty at Ards Magistrates Court to driving near Mount Stewart, Portaferry Road, while unfit through drink or drugs, driving without insurance, and two counts of failing to provide a breath specimen to police while under suspicion of drink-driving, all on March 22.

He was originally listed to contest the case.

Wilson, of Burghley Mews, Belfast, was previously convicted of drink-driving in 2008, when he was caught driving at approximately twice the legal limit. With the latest offence, the court heard that police received a report around 4.50pm on the day in question from a member of the public who said a vehicle in the Ards area was being driven on the wrong side of the road.

Police caught up with the car, which they found stationary and containing two men, with the professional rugby star in the driver's seat.

The front of the vehicle had been damaged and a tyre ripped to the rim.

Officers noted Wilson's speech was slurred and said he had displayed delayed reactions.

When police asked him to disembark the vehicle, he was unsteady on his feet.

Wilson refused three times to give an evidential breath sample at the roadside, and then again in Bangor custody suite.

His lawyer told the court his reputation had been tarnished by the affair, and that the Ulster Rugby organisation had taken a stern view of his behaviour and docked him two weeks' wages.

Representatives from the body were in court but were not asked to give evidence.

Wilson's lawyer said his client had been at home drinking with a friend, and that he accepted his behaviour that day was "nothing but foolishness". He added that the player had genuinely believed he was insured under Ulster Rugby's company car scheme.

District judge Eamon King said it was "a big problem" that Wilson had a previous conviction.

He disqualified the player from driving for three years on the alcohol charge, and imposed a £250 fine with a £15 offender's levy.

He gave him fines of £250 and £50 for failing to give specimens, and fined him £250 and imposed a six-month concurrent ban on the insurance charge.

The judge also signed Wilson up for a drink-driving course.

And he even asked: "The only question I have for Mr Wilson is, 'How did Ulster lose that game against Glasgow'?"

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