Irish Water protester has obstruction case struck out

Stephen Bennett (44) charged with preventing company from exercising its powers

An Irish Water protester charged with obstructing the company from exercising its powers has had his case struck out.  File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

An Irish Water protester charged with obstructing the company from exercising its powers has had his case struck out. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

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

Stephen Bennett (44), of Pearse Green, Sallynoggin, Co Dublin had been charged under the Water Services Act 2007, for obstructing the company exercising its powers, on November 4th, 2014 at Villa Park Gardens, Cabra, Dublin.

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.

Maximum penalty

The maximum penalty in the District Court is a €5,000 fine and a possible jail term of up to three months, whereas the Circuit Court has wider sentencing powers, including a fine not exceeding €15 million or imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.

Mr Bennett appeared again today (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 .

The judge acceded to Mr O’Higgins’s request to strike out the case.

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 also awaited in that case.