A preacher who sold £91 ‘divine plague protection kits’ as a cure for Covid-19 has lost his appeal against his conviction for fraud today.
Bishop Climate Wiseman, 47, offered a package, containing a small bottle of hyssop, cedarwood and olive oil along with a prayer card and piece of scarlet yarn.
The head of the Kingdom Church in Camberwell, south London, said he had a visitation from God and told jurors he had performed miracles.
Wiseman denied he was a conman and insisted he was a ‘man of God’, despite being convicted of fraud at Inner London Crown Court last December after telling members of his flock that the kits could ward off and cure infection.
Southwark Trading Standards officers were alerted to his scam on 24 March 2020 – the day after the country was plunged into lockdown.
Bishop Climate Wiseman, 47, was convicted of fraud at Inner London Crown Court last December after telling members of his flock that the kits could ward off and cure infection
Wiseman was sentenced to 12 months jail suspended for two years and ordered to complete 130 hours unpaid work.
He was also ordered to pay £60,072 in costs to Southwark Borough Council and given three months to pay.
Wiseman appealed against his conviction on the grounds the trial judge directed the jury inadequately on essential questions of knowledge and dishonesty.
Hyssop is mentioned in the Bible as a means of warding off plague, specifically leprosy, and has a history of use in remedies for nose, throat, and lung afflictions.
However, the only modern use for the aromatic garden herb is for the flavouring of foods and beverages due to its sweet scent and bitter taste.
He also claimed an error in his defence counsel’s closing speech should have led the judge to discharge the jury.
Wiseman also renewed his application for leave to appeal against the costs order.
But Lady Chief Justice Carr, sitting with Mr Justice Goose and Mr Justice Foxton, threw out his appeal at the High Court.
The preacher said he had a visitation from God and told jurors he had performed miracles
Wiseman denied he was a conman and insisted he was a ‘man of God’, despite being convicted of fraud
The preacher who sold £94 ‘divine plague protection kits’ as a cure for Covid-19 lost his appeal against his conviction for fraud today
Bishop Climate Wiseman is the head preacher of the Kingdom Church in Camberwell, south London
Lady Chief Justice Carr said: ‘Fairness to the appellant was an issue which was uppermost in the judge’s mind, as is apparent from his exchanges with counsel.
‘Our conclusion that discharge of the jury was unnecessary is reinforced by the fact that neither prosecution or defence counsel, or the judge, considered at the time that discharge of the jury was required.’
She added that the trial judge had ‘rightly reminded the jury not to leave their knowledge ‘of religion’ behind…and accurately stated that this was not a trial about religion’.
‘He went on to say that it was not a trial that put the appellant’s faith on trial.’
Sentencing Wiseman in February this year Judge Nigel Peters KC said: ‘You were selling an oil, a potion which you were selling or trading to prevent or cure Covid.
The phony remedy kit contained a small bottle of hyssop, a herb which is s mentioned in the Bible as a means of warding off plague, and olive oil
A piece of scarlet yarn also came with the ‘divine’ kit that cost a whopping £91
‘People’s fears and anxieties were at their highest.
‘The trepidation that people suffered was on a daily basis as tow what would happen the next day.
‘People were at their most vulnerable.
‘A product like this gave people false hope.
‘You are nothing more than a modern day snake oil salesman.’
Richard Heller, for Southwark Council, had told the court: ‘The product was not sold solely to people of this church, it was also sold to an undercover member of the BBC.’
Me Heller added that whatever Wiseman’s belief ‘it did not confer the right to sell bogus cures for fatal illnesses’.
Wiseman, of Camberwell, had denied but was convicted of fraud by claiming the concoction ‘Divine Cleansing Oil’ or as part of a ‘Divine Plague Prevention Kit’ could be used to ‘treat, prevent, protect against or cure’ coronavirus.