A Labour councillor who is also a constituency aide to First Minister Carwyn Jones was discovered driving without relevant insurance after he crashed his car in Bridgend, a court heard.
Luke Ellis, 31, of Waun Bant Road, pleaded guilty yesterday at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court to driving without insurance.
Ellis, who represents Pyle on Bridgend council, had been driving his Renault Clio down Roger’s Lane in Bridgend on January 17 this year when a black cat appeared in the middle of the road.
The court heard that the 31-year-old had swerved out of the way in an attempt to avoid the animal but crashed into a wall – writing off his car and breaking two ribs.
The councillor was taken to Princess of Wales Hospital, along with his partner who was also in the car. When a police officer checked his details he discovered Ellis was no longer insured to drive the car.
David Mason, defending Ellis, told the court yesterday that the councillor had recently moved address and after a direct payment had failed, his insurance was cancelled.
“It appears one of the monthly direct debits was not paid,” said Mr Mason. “He in fact had moved address. Unfortunately no letters were forwarded to him so far as this matter of insurance was concerned and indeed he believed he was still insured.”
A court heard that although Ellis went to his former home several times, the letter were never forwarded to him.
“He was under the misapprehension that he was continuing to be insured,” said Mr Mason.
“Unfortunately, due to pressure of work and the fact that he was moving, he failed to check that the direct payments were going through as normal.”
Ellis’ representative also questioned how the press had got wind of the case and said the media “have a particularly bad name for this sort of thing”.
He added: “It’s rather surprising that the press seem to have got involved.
“He was constantly harassed by the press.”
But the solicitor called Ellis’ crime “a genuine misunderstanding” and said “he wasn’t somebody who was simply willfully flouting the law”.
Ellis was fined £660, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £66, and costs of £60.
He was also given six penalty points on his licence.
The Echo previously revealed in 2012 that Ellis had been given a second chance by the First Minister after he was convicted of credit card fraud while still a teenager.
Mr Jones was aware of Ellis’ conviction, which happened when he was 17, and he decided to employ him.
When asked about Ellis’ latest court appearance, a spokesperson for Carwyn Jones said: “This matter has been correctly dealt with via the legal process. Luke Ellis pleaded guilty to the offence as charged and has received the appropriate penalty.”
After yesterday’s court case, Ellis said in a statement: “I have rightly appeared before the court today to deal with this issue. I had what I believed to be a fully valid insurance certificate with me at the time of the crash and I would never, ever knowingly have driven without insurance.”