Former Tyrone footballer Owen Mulligan refused to give a breath reading because of a rib injury and the fact that he didn’t believe the doctor was a medic.
A Kerry court heard yesterday that Mulligan was abusive, rude and aggressive to the doctor after his arrest for suspected drink driving.
Mulligan, now a BBC pundit, was ordered to provide a blood or urine sample when he was picked up by cops after a wedding last year.
He faced a charge of refusing to provide a sample when ordered to do so by a Garda - but claimed he did not know the doctor who arrived at the Garda station was a medic.
A Garda witness told Listowel district court that Mulligan was “very abusive”, “rude” and “aggressive” towards the local GP, who was called to take the sample.
The 34-year-old, of Church Street, Cookstown, was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving on August 29, 2014.
At Listowel Garda station, he was asked by Garda Piaras Ferriter to give a sample of blood or urine to a designated doctor, Dr John Halkett, but refused to do so, according to the charge.
Mulligan said he had broken three or four ribs in a recent game. “I attempted to blow .. but it was too much,” he added.
Medical evidence was handed in to court of how he had sustained fractured ribs the week before his arrest.
Supt Dan Keane, prosecuting, put it to Mulligan that he had never told the gardai or Dr Halkett he was carrying an injury.
But Mulligan said: “I distinctly remember saying it.” Asked by Supt Keane if he accepted he had drink taken, Mulligan, who the court heard was attending a wedding in Listowel, added: “I had a glass of wine with my meal.”
Judge James O’Connor asked him why he did not provide a blood or
urine sample and Mulligan said: “No disrespect to the doctor, but it was half three.
“He was a bit unstable on his feet as well. I didn’t think he was a doctor.”
Dr Halkett said in evidence he showed Mulligan his headed notepaper to show he was a doctor.
At 3am in the morning when called out, he didn’t go around wearing a tie, he said. Mr Mulligan was inebriated, he felt, adding he wouldn’t like to have been driven by him.
Garda Ferriter said that on August 29 at around 1.45am, he was on duty and there was a call to the station that a male and a female were getting into a black BMW 6 series outside the Listowel Arms Hotel in the Square and it was making its way to William Street.
In upper William Street, he approached the vehicle, which was stationery. The keys were in the ignition and the engine running and there was a female in the passenger seat.
Mr Mulligan produced his licence when requested.
“I got a strong smell of intoxicating liquor. His speech was slurred,” Garda Ferriter said. The garda cautioned him and asked if he was drinking.
“He said he was at a wedding and had a drink at the wedding. I asked him to step out of the car and when he did so he was unsteady on his feet,” Garda Ferriter added.
He was taken by patrol car to the garda station.
At 4.20 am after he refused to provide a sample to Dr Hackett and was charged and cautioned his reply was “nothing to say”.
The Garda added: “He was very abusive and aggressive towards the doctor on the night in question. He wasn’t satisfied with the doctor. He didn’t believe the man was a doctor.”
Defence solicitor John O’Dwyer said his client had special and significant circumstances for not being properly able to give a breath sample and this should have been taken into account and a special warning given in the ordering of the blood and urine sample.
The consequences of refusal were not properly explained to Mr
Mulligan, Mr Dwyer said, handing in 20 pages of case law involving a recent Supreme Court decision.
Supt Dan Keane said the gardai were never made aware of his fractured ribs.
“He was adamant even in my first consultation with him that he had told the gardai about this,” Mr O’Dwyer insisted.
Judge James O’Connor adjourned the matter for decision to November 5 to study submissions, custody records and medical evidence handed in to court yesterday.