Accused protest organiser plans to fight incitement charges

A man accused of organising a protest against coronavirus restrictions will fight criminal charges and believes the law prevents him leaving home to express a political view.

Tony Pecora, 43, was charged this month with two counts of incitement over allegations he organised and encouraged others to defy Victoria's stay-at-home orders and attend a September 12 protest at The Tan running track in Melbourne.

Mr Pecora plans to plead not guilty to the charges, defence lawyer Joel Tito told Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday.

Mr Tito said his client would "challenge the validity of the Public Health and Wellbeing Act … in terms of people leaving their home and expressing their political views".

Mr Pecora was last month arrested for alleged breaches of the stay-at-home laws during a protest at the Shrine of Remembrance, the court heard previously.

The Middle Park man is on bail and told the court on Friday the past few weeks had been "a pretty dramatic period".

He couldn't recall if he had signed bail documents when asked by Deputy Chief Magistrate Felicity Broughton.

Ms Broughton told Mr Pecora he might need to return to court to sign the papers if he hadn't already. His case is due to return to court in February.

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