Faith healer told his flock they would ‘drop dead’ from Covid if they didn’t buy his £91 ‘plague protection’ kits of a small bottle of oil and red yarn – and called investigators probing claims ‘the antichrist’, court hears
- Bishop Climate Wiseman, 47, sold £91 ‘bogus’ cures at the start of the pandemic
- Jury heard he told flock they would ‘drop dead’ without oil-based potion ‘cure’
- Wiseman denies charges of fraud and engaging in unfair commercial practice
A preacher who sold bogus £91 kits to ward off and cure coronavirus warned his flock they might ‘drop dead’ if they didn’t buy them, a court heard.
Bishop Climate Wiseman, 47, who is also known as Dr Climate Wiseman and Climate Irungu, claimed the kits could cure virus sufferers and stop people catching the illness to begin with.
He told his supporters that the virus couldn’t ‘stand the power of the oil’ and urged viewers to buy the kits or they might ‘end up dropping dead’ in a video, a jury at the Inner London Crown Court heard.
The faith healer is accused of one count of fraud and two counts of engaging in unfair commercial practice between March 23, 2020 and March 24, 2021.
He claimed his mixture, made from cedarwood, hyssop oil and olive oil, had cured at least 10 people who had the deadly virus.
He described investigators probing him as ‘the antichrist’.
Bishop Climate Wiseman, 47, told his supporters that his £91 oil, which contained cedarwood, hyssop oil and olive oil, would cure Covid and stop them from getting it
Wiseman, the head of the Kingdom Church in Camberwell, south London, marketed the mixture as a cure for Covid, the court heard
Bishop Wiseman is accused of one count of fraud and two counts of engaging in unfair commercial practices during the first year of the pandemic
Bishop Wiseman appeared in court in bishop’s regalia and was impassive as the case against him was read out. Jurors heard that a number of investigations had found that the Bishop’s agents were selling the oil as a virus cure after he was instructed to remove claims from his website in March 2020
Jurors were told his supporters could purchase the kits through the bishopclimateblog.com, prophet-climate.com and prophetclimate.net by signing a Prayer Agreement Form.
They could also use the form to make donations without buying the kits.
Bishop Wiseman said in a blog that using the mixture, which had sat upon the altar for seven days alongside a scarlet yarn, would ‘act as an invisible barrier’.
Inner London Crown Court heard the kits were considerably more expensive than other items he was selling and his sales pitches were all motivated by money.
In an instructional video, he said people with Covid should put their head under a towel over which some boiling water imbued with the oil had been poured.
He said his creation killed the virus which ‘can’t stand the power of the oil’ and claimed after inhalation the bug is coughed out of the body and ‘just dies.’
He urged faithful viewers to buy the kits as soon as possible or they ‘may end up dropping dead.’
Testimonial videos claimed a woman with no sense of taste and high temperature was left feeling ‘much better’ after drinking some of it and that a family had been cleared of ‘any symptoms of coronavirus’ which had ‘completely disappeared.’
He also said on his website that a woman who was so ill she called paramedics was cured after a pal gave her the oil and that a nurse in Yorkshire had recovered after just three days.
The potion, which contained cedarwood and oil, was marketed by the Bishop as a cure for Covid, the jury heard
Bishop Wiseman said in a blog that using the mixture, which had sat upon the altar for seven days alongside a scarlet yarn, would stop people contracting the deadly virus
Trading standards from Southwark Council were first made aware of the so-called cure on 24 March 2020, the first full day of the first lockdown.
The product was being advertised on his bishopclimateblog.com.
On 31 March Trading Standards asked him to remove any mention of the supposed coronavirus-curing powers of the kits.
Some claims were removed but he still claimed the kits offered ‘divine protection during the coronavirus plague’.
His South London church was also being investigated by the Charity Commission.
Bishop Wiseman and his wife were trustees of the Kingdom Church until summer 2020.
The Charity Commission was aware that the oil was being sold as a coronavirus cure through a website linked to the charity and Bishop Wiseman was asked to ensure that all links between the charity and Bishop Climate Ministries were severed immediately.
He said they were not sold through the Kingdom Church and that neither he nor the church claimed to cure the virus.
He later said he sold the oils through ‘Bishop Climate Ministries’.
A probe by investigative reporters discovered that Bishop Wiseman was represented at Kingdom by agents who claimed the oil could cure coronavirus
Bishop Climate Wiseman is the head preacher at the south London church. Reporters discovered that people selling the oil at the church claimed the potion could cure Covid
However, a separate probe by undercover reporters, who bought the oil at the Kingdom Church, found people acting in his name did claim it could cure coronavirus.
People answering the phone on behalf of Bishop Climate Ministries said the oil could provide ‘protection from corona’ and had cured at least 10 symptomatic people.
One woman on the phone, who called herself Minister Sharon, said the oil meant someone could go ‘near people’ but reminded the caller of government advice on social distancing.
She said ‘when you’ve got this oil you are very much protected’ and that the user ‘should not be able to get it [Covid] from anyone or give it to anyone’.
She told the caller, who claimed to work in the building trade, that she had been cured after testing positive herself and that sniffing the oil would remove the need to go to hospital.
After the undercover investigation on 29 April 2020, Bishop Wiseman denied he or any of his staff had misled anyone.
Despite this he still claimed his oil worked and that he was healing the nation, which he was obliged to do ‘as a prophet’ and someone ‘who God had used in miracles.’
Material about the oils were still found online when trading standards probed again in January 2021.
Wiseman, from Camberwell, appeared in the dock wearing bishop’s regalia and showed little emotion as the case against him was read out.
Richard Heller, for the prosecution, told jurors the case dates back to ‘a time I imagine most of us would prefer to forget.’
He added: ‘The defendant may seek to portray this trial as a challenge to his right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, but I want to make clear from the outset that it is no such thing.’
Mr Heller stated that religious belief was no justification for selling a ‘bogus cure’ and that Bishop Wiseman was not above the law.
‘Undoubtedly, the defendant portrays himself as having strongly held views.
‘The claims made both by the defendant and in his name can’t possibly have been true.
Inner London Crown Court heard that Bishop Wiseman had added a disclaimer to his blog saying that the oil had nothing to do with Kingdom Church after a Charity Commission investigation
‘Whatever beliefs the defendant may hold, it doesn’t confer the right to sell bogus cures to fatal illnesses.
‘He is not above the law and his faith isn’t exempt from its prohibitions,’ Mr Heller said.
The court heard a disclaimer was later added to his blog where he said the oil had nothing to do with the Kingdom Church and another was added to videos saying he had never said it was a cure for the virus.
Bishop Wiseman also claims he did not make a profit from the kits.
No treatments for coronavirus were approved by UK medical regulators until June 2020 and only a handful of vaccines and medicines are in use today.
Bishop Wiseman denies all three charges.
The trial continues and is expected to last until the middle of next week.