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Love/Hate star 'Fran' banned from roads for four years


Peter Coonan at court. Photo Garrett White

Peter Coonan at court. Photo Garrett White

Peter Coonan at court. Photo Garrett White

A STAR of RTE's gangland drama Love/Hate has been banned from driving for four years after he "jolted" a biker from behind with his car as he was heading home from an all-night house party.

Peter Coonan (28) banged into motorbike rider, Trevor McNaughton, from behind, pushing him forward and causing him to lose control of the bike.

Mr McNaughton suffered a back injury in the crash and missed six weeks of work.

A court previously heard Coonan's car was "zig-zagging" along the road and eye-witnesses said he was “detached and unresponsive” when he got out of the car following the accident on the N11 in Foxrock.

Coonan had denied the charges.

The matter was before Dun Laoghaire District Court for a decision after the defence raised a number of legal arguments.

However, Judge Bridget Reilly rejected those arguments. Judge Reilly found Coonan guilty, fined him €2,450 and banned him from driving for four years.

The defendant, of Rockwood in Dublin's Blackrock, was found guilty of dangerous driving, as well as three hit and run offences, namely 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 rider of the motorbike, AA Ireland worker Trevor McNaughton, had told the court he was heading into the city around 12 noon on May 22, 2011 when he noticed a navy blue Saab being driven erratically.

Mr McNaughton said the car was “zig-zagging”.

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

He managed to regain control only after it started to head towards the central reservation of the road.

He dismounted and spoke to the driver, who he identified as Coonan, and described him as “very surprised-looking”.

Mr McNaughton rang gardai and although initially Coonan didn't say anything, he then said he had to go and visit his son but would be back, the court heard.

McNaughton said that Coonan then left the scene, and he got back up on his motorbike and followed him to a house at Rockwood, where he called gardai once more.

Mr McNaughton suffered a back injury in the crash and missed six weeks of work, the court heard.

Garda Paul Maher testified that he spoke to Coonan by phone and the actor admitted he was driving the vehicle.

Coonan's legal team made a number of legal submissions to the judge, but these were rejected.

The court heard that Coonan would not be going into evidence.

Finding Coonan guilty, the judge imposed total fines of €2,450 and disqualified him from driving for four years.

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.

Online Editors