Clare TD’s partner pleads guilty to possession of illegal drugs and driving without insurance

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Clare TD’s newly independent partner Violet Ann Wynne has pleaded guilty to drug possession.

At a hearing at Kilrush District Court in Ennis, the lawyer for John Montaine (39), Patrick Moylan, pleaded guilty on behalf of his client to unlawful possession of cannabis at the family home in Pella Rd, Kilrush on February 11, 2021 .

Mr Moylan said Montaine was unable to appear in court as he currently has Covid-19.

Montaine uses cannabis for medical purposes and no evidence has been provided regarding the value of the drugs seized. The facts surrounding the seizure will be heard in court in June.

Mr Moylan also pleaded guilty on behalf of Montaine to driving without insurance in a black Ford Grand C-Max with registration 192 at Decomede in Lissycasey, Co Clare on February 8, 2021.

Judge Larkin said what was before the court “is a serious matter”.

Mr Moylan told the court that Montaine had 16 previous convictions, the bulk of which were in traffic cases.

Sgt Louis Moloney mentioned two of the previous convictions related to driving without insurance.

Epileptic seizures

Montaine has a previous conviction for drug possession where, at Kilrush District Court in November 2018, he was fined €100 after pleading guilty to possessing €30 of herbal cannabis on August 10, 2017 at his home in Tullycrine Upper, Cooraclare, Co Claire.

In court on that occasion, Mr Moylan explained that Montaine no longer had epileptic seizures since he regularly used THC oil extracted from cannabis before going to bed each night.

Mr Moylan told the court that Montaine had lost most of his teeth due to epileptic seizures, further stated that using THC oil was the only way for Montaine to control his seizures.

Mr Moylan said Montaine was recommended to turn to herbal cannabis to control his epileptic seizures when all conventional medication had failed.

Mr Moylan said: ‘Mr Montaine has tried all the normal medications with no success.

Regarding the new offences, Judge Larkin said: ‘I will be considering community service so I will be dismissing Mr Montaine for a probation report as to his fitness for community service.’

Mr Moylan said his client was not a suitable case for legal aid. He said: “It is not appropriate. Mr. Montaine does not work, but his partner does. Mr. Montaine has no financial resources.

‘Psychological warfare’

Montaine’s guilty plea to drug possession follows violent independent TD Ann Wynne’s resignation from Sinn Féin in controversial circumstances last month.

The mother-of-six has resigned from Sinn Féin, alleging ‘psychological warfare’ and said her recent pregnancy had been used as ‘another stick to beat me with’. Ms. Wynne is to continue as a freelance TD for Clare.

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Ms Wynne opened up about her partner’s drug possession when his case first came to court last November. She said that, this month, “John will be six years seizure-free and that’s from his medical cannabis use.”

In a telephone interview, Ms Wynne said the use of medical cannabis had positive effects for Montaine and that it had improved his quality of life “100% – without a doubt”. Ms Wynne added that Montaine ‘only has a handful of teeth left at this point’ from his past seizures.

She said: “It’s a huge problem for John personally. It was something that really affected his confidence. It brought him difficulties and problems and it’s hard to watch for someone you love.

Judge Larkin adjourned the case to June 15 for sentencing.

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