Irish League footballer Aaron Canning has been convicted of multiple road traffic offences, including drink-driving, driving without insurance and failing to report an accident.
The Coleraine FC defender, who had been on loan at Dungannon Swifts this season, was involved in an accident on the road between Limavady and Coleraine late last year, while under the influence of alcohol.
During his first appearance at Limavady Magistrates’ Court, sitting in Ballymena, the 29 year old centre-back pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol, using a motor vehicle without insurance, failing to report an accident, and failing to stop and remain at the scene of the accident.
He was given a £700 for the combined offences, and has been disqualified from driving for a total potential of seven years — three years in respect of the drink driving charge and one year each in respect of the additional charges.
He will also have to retake his driving test and can have the drink-driving disqualification reduced by nine months if he attends a safety course by December 2023.
The Belfast Telegraph has contacted Coleraine FC for a response.
The Bannsiders terminated his contract in 2015 after he pleaded guilty to flashing a 57-year-old woman the previous year. Canning was a Northern Ireland under-19 international at the time and was subsequently sentenced to 18 months probation and ordered to comply with a seven-year sexual offences prevention order (SOPO).
North Antrim Magistrates Court had then heard how he approached the woman on three different instances outside her home, at one stage exposing himself before asking her “if she would like some of it”.
Sentencing Canning then, district judge Liam McNally had told him: “Use this as a red light to stop your offending. If you breach any of these terms or commit further crimes you will be sent to prison."
Separately in 2015, it was further discovered that Canning had previously received a police caution for making “dirty” phone calls to a 53-year-old woman.
After moving around through multiple clubs including Institute and Glenavon, Coleraine re-signed him in 2018, adding that the club felt he should be "offered an opportunity to rebuild his career".
The north-west side further said that Canning accepted full responsibility for the "difficulties of his past" and declared then that he had taken steps to make changes in his life.
However, the defensive star has a history of upsetting his employers, mostly for missing important matches. Coleraine placed the defensive star on the transfer list suddenly in September 2020 after he reportedly failed to turn up for an important European game against Scottish side Motherwell.
He again failed to turn up for a European match against Velez Mostar in July and was consequently loaned out to Dungannon Swifts, who were also left unhappy with the defender after he reportedly missed a match in November 2021.
Sources in Coleraine previously told the Sunday World that Canning has wasted his talent, noting: "He's one of the best players in the Irish League when he's on his game but he just can't get over his problems. The fans backed him because they were aware of his problems but they turned on him when he started messing around again."