A JURY has heard a man accused of encouraging support for a banned terror group by flying an Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) flag told police after his arrest: "It's just a flag mate ... I am an Orangeman."

Prosecutors allege Kieron Brockhouse was reckless as to whether his actions and pictures posted on social media would encourage others to support both the UFF and the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), which were respectively proscribed as terrorist groups in 1973 and 1992.

The 42-year-old denies two counts of supporting a proscribed organisation in April 2021 and May 2022 by flying the flags and posting pictures of his actions on Facebook and WhatsApp.

Explaining the charges to a jury on Wednesday, prosecutor Martin Hackett said Brockhouse was alleged to have flown UFF and UDA flags above the ground-floor windows of a property in Banklands Road, Dudley, and a UFF flag at the rear of a house in Hurst Green Road, Halesowen.

Mr Hackett told a jury of five women and seven men at Birmingham Crown Court: "This defendant is charged with two counts on this indictment.

"He is charged with supporting a proscribed organisation contrary to the Terrorist Act 2000.

"This legislation makes it a criminal offence to express opinions or beliefs supportive of a proscribed terrorist organisation.

"The prosecution case in summary is this: that the defendant flew or displayed flags that were associated with those two organisations - the Ulster Freedom Fighters and the Ulster Defence Association.

"It is the prosecution case that the defendant flew those flags outside the two addresses that you have already had read out to you."

Telling jurors that Brockhouse had posted images of the flags outside the properties on Facebook and shared them in a WhatsApp group named Victory Banter, Mr Hackett alleged: "He was reckless as to whether or not those actions encouraged support of those particular organisations."

Brockhouse had visited Northern Ireland, Mr Hackett said, adding: "He was well aware that these organisations were proscribed."

Jurors were told they would hear from a professor later in the trial, who would give evidence about "the background of organisations in Northern Ireland".

At the conclusion of the Crown's opening speech, Mr Hackett said the jury would hear evidence about Brockhouse's "mindset and his support of loyalist Northern Irish movements".

The prosecutor said of the "mindset" evidence: "The prosecution say it means that the defendant cannot say to you with any credibility that he did not know what he was doing when he flew those flags."

After his arrest in Station Road, Halesowen, at 8.05am on May 17 2022 under the Terrorism Act, the court heard Brockhouse told officers: "It's just a flag mate. I have allegiance. I understand what the flag is ... I am an Orangeman."

The trial continues on Thursday.