Case struck out against water charge protester

Stephen Bennett
Stephen Bennett

A JUDGE has struck out a prosecution brought against a protester who was charged with obstructing Irish Water in Dublin.

Stephen Bennett, 44, of Pearse Green Sallynoggin, had been charged under the Water Service Act 2007, for obstructing the company exercising its powers, on November 4 last, at Villa Park Gardens, Cabra, Dublin 7.

Directions from the DPP needed to be obtained to determine if the activist's case should be dealt with at district court level or go forward for trial on indictment in the circuit court.

The maximum penalty in the district court is a €5,000 and a possible jail term of up to three months whereas the circuit court has wider sentencing powers: a fine not exceeding €15m or imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or both.

He appeared again yesterday (wed) at Dublin District Court where Judge Anthony Halpin was told that the DPP's directions were still not available.

Defence solicitor Cahir O'Higgins said he understood that the matter had already marked as peremptory against the State for disclosure of CCTV evidence as well as for the DPP's directions to be given.

Judge Halpin acceded to Mr O'Higgins' request to strike out the case.

Meanwhile, Mr Bennett must appear again in court next week on a charge for obstructing Irish Water workers on another date. Directions from the DPP are awaited in that case also.