MORE THAN 80 anti-water charge campaigners demonstrated outside a Cork court in solidarity with a man facing charges of damaging water meters.
Brian Gould (64), one of the leading figures in the Cork anti-water charge campaign, appeared before Cork District Court after he was arrested by appointment last week.
Mr Gould, of Barry's Place, Cathedral Road, Cork, denies a total of 11 charges.
Ten of them involve alleged damage to water meters, at an individual cost of €80 to a total value of €800.
The other charge involves the theft of a set of Ford Transit van keys, to the value of €50, the property of a water meter contractor.
Judge Leo Malone was told by Insp Billy Duane that all 11 charges relate to alleged incidents at Ashgrove estate in Carrigaline, Co Cork, on August 22 and 25, 2014.
Defence counsel Catherine Kirwan said her client was pleading not guilty to all charges.
He wanted to be tried by judge and jury on the theft charge.
Judge Malone accepted jurisdiction on the water meter damage charges, but Ms Kirwan argued that these are intrinsically linked to the theft charge and should be included with it before Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
The Director of Public Prosecutions had consented to summary disposal of all the matters involved before Cork District Court.
Judge Malone adjourned the matter until April 17 to allow the State to prepare a book of evidence.
He granted Mr Gould free legal aid after hearing he was 64 years old and on social welfare.
Ms Kirwan told the court her client was determined to vindicate his good name over the issue.
"All of these matters relate to water charge protests in the Carrigaline area," she said.
Insp Duane said the issue of jurisdiction was a matter for Judge Malone.