Ex-Ulster and Ireland player accused of assaulting ex-partner 'drifted' after injury ended career, court hears
A former Ulster and Ireland rugby player accused of assaulting his ex-partner has been "drifting" since his sporting career was cut short by injury, the High Court heard.
Ryan Cyril Caldwell's lawyer said he still suffers pain and had "no plan B" in place when his playing days came to an end.
The 33-year-old denies two counts of common assault and a further charge of criminal damage to a glass tumbler.
Caldwell, of Drumart Drive in Belfast, was granted bail but banned from contacting his former partner.
The alleged offences occurred at a house in the Lisburn area on June 12.
A judge was told the incident was linked to requests between the defendant and complainant to look at each other's phone.
Defence counsel Peter Coiley claimed the allegations against his client lacked credibility.
He said the complainant initially told police she sustained a bump on the head in an incident which caused her to vomit in the street.
But when further questioned she changed her account to say she was only sick in her mouth, according to Mr Coiley.
He described the couple's relationship as "mutually destructive".
Caldwell, a former Ulster and Ireland lock, also played for Bath and Exeter Chiefs before being forced to retire from professional rugby more than two years ago.
"His career was cut short by head injuries," Mr Coiley told the court.
"The termination of his playing career really was a jolt to his system, there was no plan B and he has been drifting ever since."
Counsel added: "He has difficulties in terms of memory recall; he attributes it to the repeated head injuries he had."
At one point Lord Justice Deeny stressed any problems would not be helped by any alleged use of Class B drugs.
Mr Coiley responded it may have foolishly been thought that taking cannabis would "ameliorate" conditions.
"He reported that he's in significant pain - a throwback to repeated physical injuries."
Granting bail for Caldwell to live at an address well away from the alleged victim, the judge said: "It's a sad enough story which is redeemed in his case by the loyalty of members of his family."
Lord Justice Deeny also ordered: "He shall not consume any illegal or other potent drugs unless prescribed by a GP."
Belfast Telegraph Digital