LAS PALMAS

Las Palmas striker Araújo given nine months for drink-driving

Prosecutors in the Canary Islands sought the sentence after the striker refused a breathalyser test after being stopped by police.

Las Palmas striker Araújo given nine months for drink-driving

A court in Gran Canaria has sentenced Las Palmas striker Sergio Araújo to a nine-month prison sentence and banned him from driving for two years for refusing to take a breathalyzer test when stopped by police on September 26.

It is the second time Araújo has falled foul of the traffic police after the Argentinean forward was banned from driving for eight months in 2013 when he was at Barcelona B.

Prosecutors in Gran Canaria had asked for an 11-month sentence to be handed down after the player alleged that he had been tricked by the Civil Guard when asked to undertake a breathalyzer test. He was subsequently charged with a traffic violation for refusing to do so.

However, Araujo is unlikely to go to prison because under Spanish law any sentence of under two years for a non-violent crime does not usually require a defendant without previous convictions to do so.

"Considering it's a sentence of less than two years, it is unlikely the defendant will serve jail time," a court spokeswoman said.

Sergio Araújo in action for Las Palmas.

Passenger seat

Araújo claimed that he had been in the passenger seat when his car was stopped and that a friend had been behind the wheel but started to feel unwell and moved the vehicle on to the side of the road. The player said that the police then asked him to move the car out of the way of traffic despite Araújo saying that he had been drinking. The police then gave the player the breathalyzer test, which showed he was over limit, according to his version of events.

"My president will fix everything"

Araújo admitted he had called the officers “liars” and that he felt “cheated” but denied insulting them, as the officers reported, in the following terms: “I won’t do the test, I wasn’t driving. You’re twats. You're useless, instead of helping people you try and fuck them over. Bastards. I don’t know why you’re writing so much. I won’t be making a statement, my dad and my lawyer will do and my president [of the club] will fix everything.”

The player eventually took a breathalyzer test on the unit carried by the patrol but refused to undergo a second test, brought to the scene by further officers, on a machine whose results are admissible in court. Araújo said he was not informed that refusal to take the second test was a criminal offence.

The officers at the scene gave a different version of events, stating that when they approached the player’s friend, named as Iván Martín, because he was standing on the side of the road next to the parked car, and informed him that a tow-truck would be called if it wasn’t moved, Araújo did so of his own volition, driving the vehicle some 20 metres. The officers then ordered him to stop, with one of the police noting that Araújo was driving extremely slowly and made a little zig-zag. When they spoke to the player, they noticed he was under the effects of alcohol. The officers also reported that Araújo tried to close the door and drive off, leading to a call for back-up.

Araújo’s father testified that he arrived at the scene and advised his son to take the second test but he claimed the officers said it was too late.

Appeal

Araújo’s lawyer asked for the case to be thrown out as he believed his client had been the subject of an ambush, possibly because he was famous, and also argued that driving 20 metres, even under the effect of alcohol, did not pose a risk to the safety of traffic. He also stated that the sentence would be appealed against.