A woman among the organisers of a protest rally in Stroud against Covid restrictions, who made a speech about 'standing up to tyranny' during last year's lockdown, was today 'too ill' to appear in court to defend her actions.

Cheltenham Magistrates Court was told that Debbie Hicks, 46, of Stratford Road in Stroud, is charged with failing to comply with the Secretary of State’s directions in that she held a 'freedom' event during lockdown breaching the Coronavirus Act while Stroud was in Tier one, as she allegedly failed to leave the Stratford Park site when requested.

Around 100 people with banners and placards gathered in Stratford Park for the 'Stroud Freedom Rally', at lunchtime on November 7, 2020.

The court was told today that Ms Hicks’ solicitors had heard from the defendant, who was complaining of being unwell.

This case was adjourned in her absence. It is anticipated she will plead not guilty in due course.

Ms Hicks was granted conditional bail to attend Cirencester court on June 28 for a trial that will be presided over by a district judge.