Judge reads junior doctor’s heartbreaking note to Covidiot lockdown protester
Robin Campbell admitted being in a gathering of more than two people (Image: BristolLive/BPM)
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A judge read a junior doctor's harrowing account of treating Covid-19 patients to a lockdown protester.
Robin Campbell, who claims he used to work for GCHQ, was one of 400 people who marched through Bristol city centre in November in opposition of a second lockdown.
The self-represented 53-year-old, of Hill House Road in Downend, was fined £1,500 after admitting being in a gathering of more than two people, Bristol Post reported.
At Bristol Magistrates' Court District Judge Lynne Matthews spent around five minutes reading the harrowing account of someone treating coronavirus patients to Campbell.
The judge quoted a piece from The Times which recalled a doctor's nightmarish experience of working on a high dependency unit during the pandemic.
Campbell was fined £1,500 after pleading guilty to the charge
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Judge Matthew read: "Hearing people cry on the other end of the phone, knowing that I am them bringing news of the worst day of their lives, is heartbreaking.”
The article went on: “The most distressing part of their struggle is the air hunger.
"You can spot these patients easily, as they grasp the masks to their faces with both hands and gasp visibly for air.”
When she finished reading, she asked Campbell if he was aware of this situation.
He replied: “Thanks for reminding me of that. I accept there are definitely some people suffering today during Covid.”
Campbell, who initially said he would be pleading not guilty, started to tell the judge about “the science” of coronavirus.
But she interjected: “I know about the science. What is it about your predicament on November 14 that meant it was proportionate for you to put others at risk?”
The lockdown sceptic then launched into a series of false statements downplaying the severity of the pandemic.
The judge read the anonymous doctor's account (stock photo)
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He went on to say that he had disagreed with “the proportionality of a lockdown”.
Judge Matthew said: “This won’t be a trial about whether lockdown is right or wrong.
"The regulations are in place and I have to punish people who breach them.”
Campbell responded: “I do hear you ma’am, but when there is a lockdown enforced and freedom of speech curtailed, I don’t know where else I am supposed to voice that opinion.”
Campbell accused the Bristol Post and outlets like it of trying to "gaslight" protesters.
Judge Matthews said: “That’s nonsense. There are plenty of people in the newspapers with views like yours.
"I saw one example in The Times earlier.”
At this point, Campbell advanced a false conspiracy theory about vaccines, to which Judge Matthews said: “Are you an anti-vaxxer?”
Campbell said: “No, I’m just anti-stupid.”
The judge was about to adjourn the case to a trial. She asked Campbell: “You don’t think you did anything wrong that day?”
He said: “I’m guilty of breaching the regulations, yes.”
With a guilty plea entered, the trial was cancelled and Campbell was fined £1,500.