The Criminal Court in Las Plamas, Gran Canaria, has sentenced a professional footballer to nine months in prison, and a two-year ban, for refusing to undergo a breathalyser test.

Sergio Araujo, who plays for UD Las Palmas, had already failed a previous test in February of 2013, resulting in a fine and the withdrawal of his licence for eight months.

In September of the same year the footballer was stopped again and refused to carry out the breathalyser test, knowing that a failure so close to his previous conviction would have further consequences.

The officers had observed the driver behaving in an unusual manner and so approached him. They believed that the driver had consumed alcohol and decided to conduct a breath test. The courts acknowledge that the first indicative test was passed, but as the officers wanted to conduct a confirmatory test the footballer believed that he was being victimised on account of who he was, and so refused.

He also argued that it was not aware of the consequences of his refusal and that, at the last moment, when advised by his father, he wanted to take the test, but was told it was too late.

Judge Mónica Oliva González concluded that there were several contradictions in the testament of the footballer, “If the defendant called his father and told him that he would be arrested, it shows that he knew the consequences of a refusal to undergo the test. Hence it is illogical to assert in court that he was never informed of it”.

The judge also states it “irrelevant” that at the last moment he decided he wanted the test, after several warnings from the officers.

The judge gave full credence to the officers of the Guardia Civil, who “are presumed to be more objective and impartial” and offered a “clear, specific and persistent” version of events.

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