Police have issued an arrest warrant for a 43-year-old ‘holistic healer’ after she was found guilty of advertising a fake ‘Brain Tonic’ she claimed could cure Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s disease and cancer.
Genevieve Flight – who is believed to be in Nigeria – denied making misleading claims that her ‘Brain Tonic’ is a holistic cure for diseases which are medically regarded as incurable on the Shambhallah Healing Centre’s website and Facebook page.
Flight – who is listed as a director of the Gloucester centre – failed to attend her trial over charges of false description earlier this week.
She describes herself as the ‘Priestess of Lunar Logos,’ and as an ‘ancient healing initiator’, the jury heard.
She said the centre assesses patients – including those with late-stage cancer – and lets them know ‘what we can charge them to cure or reverse’ the disease, she told Trading Standards.
She claimed ‘whatever we do is guaranteed’.
Police have issued an arrest warrant for 43-year-old ‘holistic healer’ Genevieve Flight after she was found guilty of advertising a fake ‘Brain Tonic’ she claimed could cure Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s disease and cancer
The trial began in her absence on Thursday and ended today with a jury taking just 31 minutes to convict her of all charges at Gloucester Crown Court.
On receiving their verdicts the judge, Recorder James Waddington QC, issued a warrant for her arrest and said she would be sentenced if and when she is found and brought to court.
He told the jurors she had not cooperated with the judicial system since pleading not guilty to the charges.
Flight, formerly of Quedgeley, Gloucester, is listed as a director of the Shambhallah Healing Centre.
She had denied 12 charges of making misleading written representations on social media, and her centre’s website, that ‘Brain Tonic’ is a holistic cure for several diseases.
Recorder Waddington allowed the trial to go ahead after being told that she had received details of the case against her and the hearing date while she was in Australia, New Zealand and now Nigeria.
‘She has voluntarily absented herself from this trial,’ he said.
Gloucestershire Trading Standards officer Sarah Watson told the court that the investigation into Flight’s actions began after a complaint was made by a cancer survivor who was perturbed at the claims made by Shambhallah Healing Centre on various social media sites.
Flight – who is believed to be in Nigeria – denied making misleading claims that her ‘Brain Tonic’ is a holistic cure for diseases which are medically regarded as incurable on the Shambhallah Healing Centre’s website and Facebook page
Prosecutor Rupert Russell said: ‘In these adverts on Facebook, Twitter and the centre’s own website, Flight claimed to be able to cure a lot of illnesses with no known cure with her herbal remedy.
‘Flight is a director of Shamballah Healing Centre Ltd, registered in Gloucester along with Dr Summers Nwokie who operates out of the centre, which is based in the Bacoor area of the Philippines.
‘The claims are false as well as misleading and are clearly designed to get people to part with their money. It is against the law in this country to make false or untrue statements in order to get people to engage in a financial transaction.
‘That’s what this case is all about. Its target audience is clearly aimed at vulnerable people with incurable, degenerative conditions who may well jump at any opportunity that offers hope.
‘Flight claims that her product will cure pretty much any ailment as well as cancer.
‘Her claims are unfounded scientifically as there are no known cures for Alzheimer’s and Huntington disease.’
Ms Watson added: ‘I was concerned about the claims that the Shambhallah Healing Centre was making. In layman’s terms she was operating a con.
Flight – who is listed as a director of the Gloucester centre – failed to attend her trial over charges of false description earlier this week. Pictured: One of the adverts from the Shambhallah Healing Centre
‘There was no pricing for her Brain Tonic that claimed to reverse brain disorders as well as treating autism and the effects of strokes and dementia.
‘She states on the website that the tonic is made up of 12 legendary herb extracts.’
Dr Hugh Rickards, a consultant in neuropsychiatry and chairman of the executive committee of the Huntington’s Association, told the jury: ‘At the moment there is no treatment that can modify the disease. There is no known cure.
‘The disease affects just about everything the brain does.
‘I had not heard about Shambhallah Healing Centre until I was contacted by trading standards. I have seen the advert and I don’t think there is such a thing as a Brain Tonic, as described here.
‘Somebody might claim it, but there is no scientific evidence to this effect of curing all diseases.
‘I have looked at the Brain Tonic’s ingredients and I have not seen any scientific evidence of any of them having any benefit to Huntington disease sufferers.
‘The claims are clearly false and they worry me as hope is a very precious commodity among the Huntington community and to give people hope in the absence of proper evidence is a real problem.’
A transcript of Flight’s interview with Gloucestershire Trading Standards officers in London was read out in court. In it she said she had originally trained as a registered nurse.
She stated ‘The centre is based in the Philippines. The products used in the Brain Tonic are all natural ingredients that people use every day and therefore do not need any special authorisation.
‘Enquires come in from all over the world. The most important thing to us is to help people. We help them understand how the tonic works. It’s not about the business, its the healing work we do.
‘People ask for help to try something. We help them in different ways. Each case is different. Our slogan is “beyond borders”. It’s an opportunity to change their life for the best.
‘When somebody contacts us we assess their situation and deal with the problem. It is an holistic assessment incorporating physical assessment, emotional, physiological, as well as mental and spiritual as well as investigation into their life style habits.
‘Even if two people are suffering from cancer, the treatment will be different. There is always a protocol to follow, you can always solve the problem.
The trial began in Flight’s absence on Thursday and ended today with a jury taking just 31 minutes to convict her of all charges at Gloucester Crown Court (pictured)
‘If you (the council/trading standards) bring me someone who needs late stage prostate cancer treatment, we will assess them and let them know what we can charge them to cure or reverse the cancer. Whatever we do is guaranteed.
‘If somebody goes into hospital their body is bombarded with chemotherapy, radiotherapy, radiation and everything they give to you kills the internal system. What we do is work with the body.
‘Even when patients have the money for treatment the patient chooses to go to hospital because they have been told that cancer is incurable.
‘Our skills are not practical in hospital situations. We have helped so many people over the years.
‘We don’t have any misleading descriptions on our website. Medical experts have no idea how this all works. It’s not their field.
‘We make the lives of our patients so much better.’
In evidence today, Dr Alex Bailey, consultant psychiatrist and chairman of the Old Age Psychiatry organisation, told the jury that Alzheimer’s was the most common form of dementia and affects the functions of the brain which control memory, language, communication, emotions and decision making.
Dr Bailey said: ‘It is not scientifically possible to cure people of Alzheimer’s disease or reverse the effects it has on a patient.
‘There are four licensed products available to slow the onset of dementia down, but it cannot stop it or reverse it pathologically or clinically.
‘The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence have issued guidelines on dementia and there is nothing in the document that refers to curing or reversing the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
‘I had not heard of the Shambhallah Healing Centre before these proceedings and the claims the company makes are definitely false. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that these claims are viable.
‘Aside from Ginkgo, none of the ingredients listed in the brain tonic have any known medical benefit towards Alzheimer’s. There have been studies surrounding the use of Ginkgo, but these were inconclusive in cases of dementia.’
In his summing up to the jury the Recorder said ‘You’ve heard from the two medical experts in their relevant fields of Alzheimer’s and Huntington diseases.
‘They both echo each other in saying that families are desperate to find a cure for their loved ones and may be tempted to reach for something unrealistic.
‘Flight stated that the Shambhallah Healing Centre had been operational for some 15 to 20 years and had the slogan of healing beyond borders.
‘She stated that the company’s philosophy was to change lifestyles and habits. She wouldn’t be drawn on the cost of the brain tonic.
‘She likened the NHS and the Shambhallah Healing Centre as being the difference between life and death.’
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