Covid in Birmingham: 2 businessmen accused of selling fake coronavirus testing kits online
Stephen Beckford and Ron Huss-Smickler, from Birmingham, are accused of importing illegal Covid testing kits from China
and live on Freeview channel 276
Two men have appeared in court accused of selling fake coronavirus testing kits on the dark web and tying to flog them to medical professionals.
The pair, from Birmingham, are accused of manipulating the unlicensed kits to sell in the UK at a time when PPE and Covid testing was in short supply.
They are also alleged to have even tried to sell the kits to members of the medical profession for their own profit.
Both have been charged with one count of fraud by dishonestly gaining from the selling of the unregulated Covid tests and making profit from the sales.
Yesterday (Tuesday, February 15) Beckford and Huss-Smickler appeared at Birmingham Crown Court where they both entered not guilty pleas during a short ten minute hearing.
What else happened at court?
Judge Samantha Crabb adjourned the case for a pre-trial hearing on January 13 next year ahead of a trial at the same court on March 20 next year.
She said: "I estimate this to be a seven-to-ten day trial. A pre-trial review will be fixed for January 13 next year, the defendants are going to be asked to attend this hearing.
"Mr Beckford and Mr Huss-Smickler please stand. Your trial is going to take place on March 20, next year.
"Your defence statements are due on April 19 of this year. If you fail to do this, that may count against you.
"You must both attend a pre-trial hearing on January 13 of next year.
"I have been told that both of you have been granted unconditional bail, that will continue."
Message from the editor:
Thank you for reading. BirminghamWorld is Birmingham’s latest news website, championing everything that is great about our city - reporting on news, lifestyle and sport. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going.