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'Legless drunk' at airport was really one-legged veteran

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Arrest was at Terminal One

Arrest was at Terminal One

Arrest was at Terminal One

A one-legged war veteran was arrested at Dublin Airport after staff thought he was legless drunk, a court has heard.

Libyan Mouftah Nezar Ellihidy, of Annally Terrace, Ongar, Clonsilla, was maimed during conflict in his homeland.

The 28-year-old pleaded guilty to breach of the peace, being intoxicated in public and obstruction and assault of an authorised officer at Terminal One last January 29.

Wrecked

The business student also admitted criminal damage inside a garda car and to a mattress at Ballymun Garda Station.

However, a judge has given him a chance to avoid a criminal record and a sentence after noting the "unusual circumstances" of his arrest.

Dublin District Court heard evidence that Ellihidy began spitting when gardai were called and arrested him.

Things escalated, and he wrecked a mattress in a garda station cell.

Defence solicitor Colleen Gildernew said her client was very apologetic.

She also said he had lost a leg during the war to topple Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, and later lost some fingers as a result of an IS bomb blast.

On the day of his arrest he had packed his crutches in his baggage.

He drank one glass of wine that reacted badly with his medication, the solicitor said, and the airport staff thought he was intoxicated and offered him a wheelchair, which he declined.

The situation escalated and gardai were called.

He now had a scholarship from the Libyan government to study in Ireland. His family were doctors living in Turkey.

The solicitor said the airport staff assumed Ellihidy "was legless drunk as opposed to being actually legless".

The student was sorry, Judge John Brennan noted.

He described Ellihidy's behaviour as "purely appalling", while accepting he was a patriotic veteran who had suffered.

Judge Brennan said it seemed unusual that one glass of wine led to this behaviour, and clearly the accused cannot mix alcohol.

Ellihidy had no previous convictions.

The judge remanded him on bail to appear again in June and bring €260 to court to pay for the damage, plus €400 to be donated to charity.

The judge will strike out the case if Ellihidy complies.