Saturday 16 December 2017

Former Tyrone star Owen Mulligan tells court: 'I couldn't give drink drive sample as I'd broken my ribs'

Tyrone football star Owen Mulligan has appeared in court in Listowel Co Kerry
Tyrone football star Owen Mulligan has appeared in court in Listowel Co Kerry

FORMER Tyrone footballer and BBC GAA pundit Owen Mulligan claimed he could not give a breath sample to gardai because he had broken his ribs playing football the previous week.

The three-times All-Ireland winner was giving evidence at Listowel District Court where he was answering charges that he refused to give a blood or urine sample following his arrest on suspicion of being drunk in charge of a vehicle last year.

Mr Mulligan (34), of Church Street, Crookstown, Co Tyrone, denies the offence on August 29 last year.

His solicitor, John O'Dwy-er, the son of legendary GAA manager Mick O'Dwyer, said he was contesting the charge on the grounds that there were discrepancies in the times given of the events by the arresting garda and by the member-in-charge at Listowel Garda Station that night.


Mr O'Dwyer also claims proper procedure hadn't been followed and gardai failed to inform Mr Mulligan of his obligation to provide a blood or urine sample when he was unable to provide a breath sample.

Gardai claimed Mr Mulligan had not given them any explanation as to why he could not provide a breath sample and had been abusive following his arrest.

They say he had also been "rude" to the local doctor, who attended the station, saying he didn't believe he was a doctor and refusing to let him near him.

Gda Pierce Ferriter told the court he had arrested Mr Mulligan on suspicion of being drunk in charge of a vehicle following a call received from a member of the public at 1.45am that a man had left the Listowel Arms with a woman and got into a black BMW X6 driving in the direction of William Street.

The wedding of Mr Mulligan's former team-mate Michael Coleman to the 2011 New York Rose Erin Loughran had taken place the previous day.

Gda Ferriter said that when he approached the car, Mr Mulligan was sitting behind the wheel and the keys were in the ignition with the engine running.

He said there was a strong smell of intoxicating liquor from his breath and his speech was slurred.

When he asked Mr Mulligan to step out of the car, he said he was unsteady on his feet.

Gda Ferriter added: "On the night in question he was very abusive and aggressive towards the doctor and said there was no way he'd let him near him.

"He said he didn't believe this man was a doctor and was rude and aggressive towards him."

Gda Ronan Kelliher, who is trained to operate the intoxiliser, said Mr Mulligan "didn't seem to care" when asked about his demeanour after he had failed to provide a sample.

Dr John Hartnett said Mr Mulligan appeared "very inebriated" and "didn't fancy" giving either a blood sample or providing a urine sample when asked to do so.

Dr Hartnett said he had not been wearing a tie at 3am but when Mr Mulligan questioned if he was a doctor he showed him his headed paper.


Taking the stand, Mr Mulligan said he had been attending a wedding and had had one glass of wine with dinner.

He said of Dr Hartnett: "No disrespect to the man, but he didn't look like a doctor and was unsteady on his feet."

Solicitor Mr O'Dwyer produced a medical statement from Dr Paul J Flanagan confirming Mr Mulligan had been suffering fractured ribs.

If convicted, Mr Mulligan faces being banned from driving for four years as the charge carries an automatic disqualification period for first-time offenders.

Judge James O'Connor adjourned the matter until November to consider his judgment.

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