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Criminal charges could be dropped depending on lockdown legal challenge, court told

A man accused of inciting others to protest against Victoria’s coronavirus restrictions could have his criminal charges dropped if his legal challenge against the state’s laws is successful in another court, his lawyer says.

Tony Pecora appeared before Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday, charged with two counts of incitement. Police allege the 43-year-old encouraged others to attend a “walk for freedom” at the Royal Botanic Gardens in September last year, in contravention of stay-at-home laws.

Tony Pecora is accused of inciting others to protest against Victoria’s coronavirus restrictions.

Tony Pecora is accused of inciting others to protest against Victoria’s coronavirus restrictions.

Mr Pecora’s lawyer, Madeleine Smith, had his criminal case adjourned for four months while they wait for a listing for a civil trial in the Supreme Court, where Mr Pecora and others have filed a writ challenging the legalities of Victoria’s coronavirus restrictions.

Ms Smith told magistrate Angela Bolger the outcome of the Supreme Court proceedings would likely affect Mr Pecora’s case in the Magistrates Court, and it was possible that his charges could be withdrawn by prosecutors if the higher court ruled in his favour.

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