A girl performing as a “guerrilla journalist” when she filmed inside a hospital in an try and show her perception that lockdown measures had been disproportionate has been convicted of a public order offence.

Debbie Hicks, 47, a former instructor and psychologist, filmed twice on the Gloucestershire Royal hospital in Gloucester in December 2020 and informed workers who challenged her she may do what she wished as she paid her taxes.

Hicks, from Stroud, argued that she was exercising her proper to freedom of expression and making an attempt to reveal what she believed was a false authorities narrative that hospitals had been stuffed with sufferers with Covid.

However discovering her responsible of utilizing threatening phrases or behaviour more likely to trigger harassment, the district choose Nicholas Wattam stated workers had the proper to work with out being molested.

Richard Posner, prosecuting, informed Cheltenham magistrates courtroom that Hicks, who had no earlier convictions, went to the hospital on 27 December 2020 as a result of she felt restrictions had been excessive.

Dwell-streaming her go to, she might be heard saying: “It’s completely lifeless, it’s a ghost city, I’ve by no means seen it so quiet. The place are all of the individuals dying from the second wave?

“That is the proof we’ve wanted in Gloucestershire, we’ve been locked down into tier 3 for this? An empty hospital, this can be a shame. All our individuals in our nation desperately ready for remedy … That is making me so indignant strolling round right here. Have a look at the reality.”

On the second go to the next day, she was challenged by two workers. Posner stated: “Ms Hicks’ response was confrontational, derogatory and aggressive.”

Katie Williams, an occupational therapist who challenged Hicks, stated she had been working below excessive strain for nearly a yr and had discovered the incident distressing.

Sophie Brown, a senior physiotherapist, stated when she requested Hicks to not movie, Hicks replied that she paid her taxes “so I can do what I would like”.

Hicks’ lawyer Merry Van Woodenberg informed the courtroom that Hicks was performing as a guerrilla journalist and she or he had a proper to freedom of expression below article 10 of the European conference on human rights.

The barrister stated her consumer had misplaced her likelihood of employment due to her political opinions and informed the courtroom her charges had been paid by others who had comparable issues to Hicks.

However discovering her responsible, the choose stated: “Miss Williams and Miss Brown had the misfortune to come across Mrs Hicks of their place of business. They don’t need to be molested by Mrs Hicks when at work and needs to be protected by the legislation.”

Hicks informed the courtroom she was unemployed and scuffling with debt. She was fined £120 and informed to pay prosecution prices of £775 and a sufferer surcharge – which is used to fund providers for victims – of £34, a complete of £929.


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