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'Love/Hate' star is banned for four years after car hit biker

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Peter Coonan

Peter Coonan

Peter Coonan

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) ran into motorcyclist Trevor McNaughton from behind, pushing him forward and causing him to lose control of the bike.

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

A court had previously heard that Coonan's car was "zig-zagging" along the road. Eyewitnesses said he was "detached and unresponsive" when he got out of the car following the accident on the N11 in Foxrock, south Dublin.

Coonan had denied the charges.

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

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

'ZIG-ZAGGING'

The defendant, of Rockwood in Blackrock, Co Dublin, 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 noon on May 22, 2011 when he noticed a navy blue Saab being driven erratically.

Mr McNaughton said the car was "zig-zagging".

He passed the vehicle but was then "jolted" from behind near Foxrock church and lost control of the motorbike.

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

Mr McNaughton dismounted and spoke to the driver, whom he identified as Coonan.

He described the actor as "very surprised-looking".

The motorcyclist then rang the gardai. Initially, Coonan didn't say anything, but he then said that he had to go and visit his son but would be back, the court heard.

DISQUALIFIED

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

Garda Paul Maher testified that he spoke to Coonan by phone and the actor admitted that he had been 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 giving 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 most 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 a dissident IRA man.

Irish Independent