Behaviour of man who accosted Chris Whitty ‘shocking and disgraceful’

Lewis Hughes, 24, has admitted assaulting England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)
16:34pm, Fri 30 Jul 2021
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A 24-year-old showed “shocking and disgraceful behaviour” when he assaulted England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty in a central London park, the Crown Prosecution Service has said.

Prof Whitty was accosted in St James’s Park at around 7.20pm on Sunday June 27.

Lewis Hughes, from Romford in Essex, admitted a charge of assault by beating at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday, and was sentenced to eight weeks in prison suspended for two years and ordered to pay £100.

Kalsoom Shah, from the CPS, said: “This was a completely unacceptable act of targeting and assaulting Professor Chris Whitty.

“Lewis Hughes showed little regard for him or relevant social distancing rules when he accosted the Government’s Chief Medical Officer in the street. His behaviour was both shocking and disgraceful.

“Like everyone else, public figures should be free to go about their day to day work without fear of being targeted and assaulted. The CPS will always work with the police to bring to justice those who break the law in this way.”

A second man, Jonathan Chew, 24, from Chelmsford, Essex, pleaded not guilty to the same charge.

Chew, who wore a navy hoodie in court, also denied wilfully obstructing police constable Steven Ozden on the same day.

He was granted bail and was told to appear at the same court on November 23 for trial.

The Metropolitan Police force launched an investigation after last month’s incident, and officers carried out a welfare check on the chief medical officer, who did not suffer any injuries.

Footage of the incident, lasting around 20 seconds, was widely shared on social media.

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