Kerry judge clears ‘obstreperous, awful’ GAA star Owen Mulligan over breathalyser arrest

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A Kerry judge has accepted Tyrone All-Ireland winner Owen Mulligan’s defence that he couldn’t blow into a breathalyser because of a rib injury.

The 34 year-old, of Church Street, Cookstown, has had a charge dismissed of refusing to give a blood or urine sample to gardaí after being arrested on suspicion of being drunk in charge of a vehicle.

Judge James O’Connor made the ruling at a sitting of Listowel District Court in Co Kerry on Thursday.

Mulligan was arrested in Listowel in the early hours of August 29, 2014 after gardaí said they received a call from a member of the public.

He had attended the wedding of his former teammate Michael Coleman to the 2011 New York Rose Erin Loughran the previous day.

However, Judge O’Connor said gardaí had failed to warn Mr Mulligan of his obligation to provide a blood or urine sample when he could not give a sample of his breath.

The judge accepted that the player had suffered broken ribs in a match in Tyrone five days before his arrest and this constituted a “special” or “substantial” reason.

Superintendent Dan Keane told the court that gardaí only became aware of Mr Mulligan’s rib injury at a sitting of the court in September, the Irish Independent reported.

Mr Mulligan, a three-times All-Ireland winner and GAA pundit for the BBC, previously gave evidence that he had one glass of wine with dinner at the wedding.

On claims he was abusive towards a doctor who attended the Garda station, he said he “didn’t look like a doctor”.

Judge O’Connor said: “He (Mulligan) was obstreperous, awful, aggressive and difficult to handle both inside and outside the Garda station towards everybody and there is no doubt about that, but the decision is to dismiss.”