A BLACK Country man who flew the flags of two outlawed Ulster loyalist groups has been found not guilty of two anti-terror law charges.

Jurors at Birmingham Crown Court unanimously acquitted Kieron Brockhouse of two counts of supporting a proscribed organisation on Tuesday, after hearing how he bought Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) and Ulster Defence Association (UDA) flags from a shop during a trip to Belfast.

The jury deliberated for around two-and-a-half hours before clearing Brockhouse, who told the court he had no intention of encouraging terrorism and believed the UFF and UDA had ceased to exist in 1998.

Prosecutors had claimed the 42-year-old breached the Terrorism Act in April 2021 and May 2022 by flying flags at houses in Banklands Road, Dudley, and Hurst Green Road, Halesowen, and posting pictures of them on social media.

Brockhouse, who told jurors he was a member of an Orange Order lodge based in Stourbridge, informed police after his arrest in 2022 that he did not support terrorism in any way and was "gobsmacked" at being questioned at a custody facility.

In his evidence to the court, Brockhouse said there was no malice behind his flying of the flags, one of which was on a flagpole in a rear garden.

He also said he was copying the flying of flags he had seen displayed during visits to Belfast, and that he had flown several flags at the Dudley address to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Northern Ireland in 2021.

In his closing speech to the trial, Brockhouse's barrister, Gulam Ahmed, submitted that the jury could find "quite quickly" that Brockhouse was a peaceful man.

The Crown alleged during a five-day trial that Brockhouse had been reckless as to whether or not his actions encouraged support for the UFF and UDA, which were outlawed in 1973 and 1992 respectively.

But Mr Ahmed said of the defendant: "He thought that they (the UFF and UDA) don't exist.

"The reason he said he thought they didn't exist was as a result of the Good Friday Agreement.

"If he didn't know they were proscribed he simply could not be reckless."

The defence also claimed that so-called "mindset evidence" concerning Brockhouse - alleged to support the Crown's case - was "woefully thin".

Following the not guilty verdicts, Brockhouse said "it's over" towards those watching from the public gallery as he left the dock.

Judge Paul Farrer KC then thanked the jury panel for the obvious care and attention they had taken in dealing with the case.

Brockhouse declined to comment to the media after leaving the courtroom.