Accused anti-lockdown protest organiser to plead not guilty

Accused anti-lockdown protest organiser to plead not guilty

A former Clive Palmer United Australia Party candidate will contest criminal charges of organising an anti-lockdown protest.

Tony Pecora was charged with two counts of incitement over allegedly using a fake Facebook profile, “Arkwell Tripelligo”, to organise an anti-lockdown protest called Melbourne Walk for Freedom scheduled for Saturday, September 12.

But his lawyer Joel Tito told the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday that he would plead not guilty to the charges.

A previous court heard the 43-year-old is a director of a renewable energy company and a former candidate for Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party before he was dumped for his views suggesting 9/11 was a conspiracy.

He told media in 2019 when he was running as a candidate that he “started a renewable energy business thinking that the sky was falling down” but discovered that, “It’s not – it’s a deception. The climate always changes and has always changed. This theory that the world may end in 12 years could very well be fraudulent.”

However, the court heard in his bail application two weeks ago he was back running the renewable energy business.

Mr Pecora allegedly believes COVID-19 is a “genetically engineered virus created by world banks to kill off weaker humans”, the court heard.

He allegedly told police, “It would be better to die on your feet than live on your knees” when asked how he would feel if someone contracted the virus at a protest he organised and died, a previous court heard.

He will next appear in court in February.