Thursday 18 January 2018

‘Love/Hate’ star denies hit-and-run charges in court

Thursday 24 January 2013. Dun Laoghaire DC: Peter Coonan. Hit and Run. (Love/Hate actor)
Thursday 24 January 2013. Dun Laoghaire DC: Peter Coonan. Hit and Run. (Love/Hate actor)
Peter Cloonan at Dun Laoghaire court

Eimear Cotter

A STAR of RTE's popular gangland drama ‘Love/Hate’ "jolted" a biker from behind with his motor car as he was heading home after an all-night house party.

Peter Coonan (28) allegedly banged into a motor bike rider from behind, pushing him forward and causing him to loose control of the bike.

Eye witnesses claimed Coonan, who plays volatile gangster Fran in the hit RTE drama, was "slow, sluggish and lethargic" as well as "detached and unresponsive" when he got out of the car following the accident on the N11 in Foxrock.

He has denied the charges.

Judge Bridget Reilly adjourned the case to a date in May for legal submissions.

As exclusively revealed in the Herald in December, Coonan, of Rockwood in Dublin's Blackrock, is charged with dangerous driving, as well as three hit and run offences, including failing to give appropriate information to gardai, failing to keep a vehicle at the scene of an accident and failing to report an injury to another man.

The alleged victim, Trevor McNaughton, who works for AA Ireland, told Dun Laoghaire District Court he was on his motorbike heading into the city when he noticed a navy blue Saab being driven erratically.

Mr McNaughton alleged the car was "zig zagging" along the road.

He said he passed out the vehicle but just near Foxrock church he was jolted from behind and he lost control of the bike.

He claimed the bike was pushed forward underneath him a second time, and the bike started to head for the central reservation of the road.

Mr McNaughton said he managed to get back control of the bike, and he got off it.

He spoke to the driver, who he identified as Coonan, and said he was "very surprised looking". He told him he was ringing the gardai.

Mr McNaughton claimed Coonan initially didn't say anything, but then said he had to go and visit his son but he would be back in a short while.

He alleged Coonan then left the scene, and he got back up on his motorbike and followed him to a house at Rockwood, where he again rang the gardai.

The court heard Mr McNaughton suffered a serious back injury in the crash, and has missed six weeks in work due to the pain.

Garda Paul Maher told the court he spoke to a friend of Coonan's who claimed he lent him his car following a house party. However, the friend said he doesn't remember this.

The garda also said he spoke to Coonan by phone, and thathe admitted he was driving the vehicle.

Cross examined by defence lawyer Kieran Conway, Gda Maher denied Coonan admitted he was driving prior to him being cautioned.

Judge Reilly adjourned the matter to a date in May for legal argument.

Coonan came to prominence in the second series of Love/Hate playing Fran, a volatile gangster in the Dublin gangland scene.

In the recent series his character has come to the fore as one of crime kingpin Nidge's closest allies, helping to burn and dispose of the body of IRA man Git.

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