Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Gordon Deegan

The partner of former Sinn Féin TD Violet Anne Wynne is free to drive until at least November despite receiving a two-year driving ban last month.

This follows John Montaine (40), formerly of Pella Road, Kilrush, Co Clare, failing to appear at Kilrush Circuit Court to press ahead with his appeal of the driving ban. The case has now been adjourned to November for hearing.

At Ennis District Court last month, Judge Mary Larkin imposed a third driving ban on Mr Montaine after his third conviction for driving with no insurance.

Mr Montaine has 16 previous convictions. This includes two for driving with no insurance dating from June 2014, which resulted in a two-year driving ban, and one conviction from 2012 when he received a one-year driving ban.

Judge Larkin imposed a two-year ban on the latest offence of Mr Montaine driving with no insurance at Decomede, Lissycasey, Co Clare, on February 8th, 2021.

Mr Montaine is also appealing a drugs possession conviction. Judge Larkin imposed a €100 fine after Mr Montaine pleaded guilty to the illegal possession of cannabis at the former family home at Pella Road, Kilrush, on February 11th last year.

Disqualification ‘not taking effect’

Judge Francis Comerford told Kilrush Circuit Court that the appeal being lodged against the driving ban means that “the disqualification is not taking effect”.

The State solicitor for Clare, Aisling Casey, told Judge Comerford: “That is correct”.

Patrick Moylan, the solicitor for Mr Montaine, told Judge Comerford: “I didn’t know that the appeal was in today as it wasn’t on the public court list and I didn’t make contact with Mr Mountaine.”

Seeking an adjournment, Mr Moylan repeated his revelation from court last week that Mr Montaine “is homeless in Longford”.

Mr Moylan said: “He is in personal difficulty”.

In response, the judge said: “I accept that Mr Montaine has the difficulties you are outlining but it is his obligation to prosecute the appeal.”

Ms Casey told the court that she did not think there could be any change to the driving ban concerning any appeal against severity.

The next date for District Court appeals at Kilrush is November 22nd, and Mr Moylan said the adjournment will allow him to get instructions from his client.

‘Misunderstood’ insurance law

Previously in the District Court, Mr Moylan told Judge Larkin that Mr Montaine was paying €500 a month on his insurance policy and believed that he was insured on the date.

He said Mr Montaine “has misunderstood the law in relation to insurance”.

Judge Larkin said: “He had no cover as he had a provisional licence. If he has a provision licence, he must be accompanied.”

Mr Moylan said: “He accepts that now but at the time genuinely believed that he was insured as he was paying a substantial amount for his insurance policy.”

Garda Sgt Louis Moloney said Mr Montaine had two previous convictions for possession of drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Mr Moylan told the District Court that there are particular circumstances around Mr Montaine’s guilty plea concerning the possession of cannabis.

He said: “Mr Montaine is an epileptic and he gets fits and seizures, and they were so severe in the past that Mr Montaine has lost most of his teeth.”

Mr Moylan said Mr Montaine’s neurologist had prescribed various drugs without success and the seizures continued.

He said eventually Mr Montaine started using THC where the cannabis is put through a filtration process to produce oil. Mr Montaine was putting one drop on his gums each day and this stopped the seizures, the court was told.

In February, Violet Anne Wynne resigned from Sinn Féin in controversial circumstances.

The mother of six resigned from party alleging “psychological warfare” and said her recent pregnancy had been used as a “further stick to beat me with”. Ms Wynne is continuing as an Independent TD for Clare.

Last month, Ms Wynne said she and her six children were homeless and she remained hopeful for a positive outcome and that her family will find a suitable home.

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