GAA star didn’t think man seeking blood sample was a doctor

Former Tyrone footballer Owen Mulligan told Listowel District Court yesterday that he didn’t think the man who arrived at Listowel Garda Station in the early hours to take a blood or urine sample from him — where he was under arrest on suspicion of drink driving — was a doctor.

The BBC pundit is contesting a charge of refusing to provide a blood or urine sample when ordered to do so by a garda.

A garda witness told the court Mr Mulligan had been “very abusive”, “rude”, and “aggressive” towards the doctor, a local GP, who was called to take the sample.

Mr Mulligan, aged 34, of Church St, Cookstown, Co Tyrone, was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving under the Road Traffic Acts on August 29, 2014. At Listowel station, he was asked by Garda Piaras Ferriter to give a sample of blood or urine to Dr John Halkett, but refused to do so, according to the charge.

Dr Halkett was called to the station after Mr Mulligan failed to provide a breath sample, the court was told.

Mr Mulligan’s solicitor, John O’Dwyer (the son of Kerry football legend Mick O’Dwyer) asked his client why he failed in his attempt to give a breath sample on the night Mr Mulligan said he had broken three or four ribs in a recent game. “I attempted to blow, but it was too much,” he said.

Supt Dan Keane, prosecuting, put it to Mr Mulligan that he had never told gardaí or Dr Halkett he was carrying an injury. Mr Mulligan said: “I distinctly remember saying it.”

Asked by Supt Keane if he accepted he had drink taken, Mr Mulligan, who the court heard had been attending a wedding in the town, said: “ 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. Mr 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. “

Earlier, Dr Halkett said in evidence he showed Mr Mulligan his headed notepaper to show he was a doctor. At 3am, when called out, he didn’t go around wearing a tie, he said.

Garda Piaras Ferriter said on Friday, 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 in to a black BMW 6 series outside the Listowel Arms Hotel in the Square and the car was making its way to William St.

He subsequently approached the vehicle, which was stationary. The keys were in the ignition, the engine running, and there was a woman 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.”

He was taken by patrol car to the Garda station. At 4.20am, after he refused to provide a sample to Dr Hackett and was charged and cautioned, his reply was, “nothing to say”, the garda said.

Judge James O’Connor asked the garda to “elaborate” on what he meant by saying Mr Mulligan had refused to give a blood sample.

Garda Ferriter said: “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.”

Mr Mulligan was “rude” and aggressive, the garda added.

In his closing submission, 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.

Judge O’Connor adjourned the matter to November 5.


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