Ex-Ireland and Ulster player Caldwell sentenced over ecstasy find
A former Ulster and Ireland rugby player has been sentenced to 12 months probation for having ecstasy.
Ryan Cyril Caldwell, 33, admitted possession of the Class A drug found during a search last year.
Belfast Magistrates' Court heard police recovered eight tablets at an undisclosed location on June 13.
Defence counsel Michael Boyd described the case as a "very sad tale" involving a sportsman whose career was cut short through injury.
"This man played rugby at a very high level, playing for Ulster and clubs in England," the barrister said.
"He's been an athlete all his life, but because of hip problems he had to retire from rugby."
The former Ulster and Ireland lock also played for Bath and Exeter Chiefs before his career finished more than two years ago.
Since then Caldwell, of Drumart Drive in Belfast, has been dealing with a number of difficulties, the court heard.
"Among those is a problem with recreational drugs," Mr Boyd added.
"He was reluctant to admit that but he accepts he does have an issue."
District Judge Fiona Bagnall was told Caldwell was a "prime candidate" for supervisory assistance.
Imposing 12 months probation, Mrs Bagnall directed it must include compliance with a drugs and alcohol programme.
Belfast Telegraph Digital