A man who believes Covid-19 is a “hoax” allegedly snuck into a hospital and told a sick friend to remove their oxygen mask, before confronting hospital staff.
Tobe Hayden Leigh, 45, of Maidstone in Kent, allegedly slipped through a closing door to the critical care ward of East Surrey Hospital in Redhill on January 21st during the full winter lockdown.
Wearing no mask or protective equipment, Leigh is said to have told his friend to take off his oxygen mask, before arguing with doctors who intervened and said the patient would die without it.
Police attended the scene and issued two other people with fines for breaching Covid regulations. They also issued a breach of the peace warning, prompting the group to leave.
A video later appeared online appearing to show a group of people who had entered the ward to visit a relative being abusive to hospital staff when they were told to leave.
It is claimed that Leigh was told to leave but refused, and he is alleged to have threatened assault if anyone touched him.
Leigh, who recorded the alleged incident on his phone, was later arrested and charged with one offence of “causing a nuisance on NHS premises”.
He told officers he genuinely believed his friend’s life was in danger.
He appeared at Guildford Magistrates’ Court yesterday where he refused to enter a plea, telling the bench he is the victim of a malicious prosecution.
Leigh was warned by the chairman of bench Dr Janet Page that not entering a plea would mean an automatic plea of not guilty would be accepted.
Dr Page said: “If you wish to make the case of no case to answer, you need to do that at a trial.”
Georgina Pollard, prosecuting, noted that Leigh believed the pandemic was a “hoax” and promoted his views online.
She said: “He actively promotes his beliefs that Covid is a hoax on his YouTube channel.”
Ms Pollard also described how Leigh confronted hospital staff.
”He is said to go to his friend, is challenged by staff to leave, and is not wearing PPE or a face covering”, she said.
“He demanded to speak to the head doctor, averting attention away from critically sick patients.
“He encouraged his friend to remove his oxygen mask. A doctor intervened and said if he didn’t put the mask back on he would die.”
Leigh, who represented himself at the hearing, was granted unconditional bail and his trial will take place early next year.