Chris Whitty assault: Second man pleads guilty over park attackon January 27, 2022 at 3:21 pm

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England’s chief medical officer was accosted in a London park in June 2021.

Jonathan Chew

Image source, PA Media

A man has admitted intending to cause harassment, alarm or distress to Prof Sir Chris Whitty when he approached him in a central London park.

Jonathan Chew and Lewis Hughes accosted England’s chief medical officer in St James’s Park last year.

Chew, from Chelmsford, Essex, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court where he pleaded guilty. Hughes previously admitted assault by beating.

The 24-year-old also admitted obstructing PC Steven Ozden.

Prosecution barrister Iestyn Morgan told the court Chew started filming Prof Whitty on his phone while Hughes grabbed him in a headlock.

The footage, lasting about 20 seconds, was widely shared on social media and showed the pair jeering as Prof Whitty attempted to break free.

England’s chief medical officer was uninjured in the attack which happened in June 2021.

Earlier in January, Chew’s defence lawyer Rabah Kherbane, had asked for the case to be adjourned after the defendant’s former solicitor withdrew due to being “professionally embarrassed” about the defendant’s behaviour in court.

Mr Kherbane said the 24-year-old has several conditions including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism which would make it difficult for him to follow proceedings.

A still of the video footage appearing to show Chris Whitty being grabbed

Image source, PA Media

During the hearing, senior district judge Paul Goldspring repeatedly told the defendant to stop interrupting proceedings, and that he would be fitted with an electronic tag due to “concerns” over him not being at home on several occasions.

The court then heard how Chew gave the name and old address of his brother Aaron Chew to PC Ozden.

Mr Morgan said: “This did cause a waste of police resources.”

He said police attended the address on 1 July to discover a man called Harry now lived at the property. Officers were able to identify that Jonathan Chew was the suspect after he provided comments about the incident to the Sun newspaper.

Hughes, from Wigton Way in Romford, east London, was sentenced in July to an eight-week suspended jail sentence and £100 fine.

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