Man handed suspended sentence for assaulting Professor Chris Whitty

A man who assaulted England's chief medical officer has been handed a suspended jail sentence. Lewis Hughes, of Romford, Essex, accosted Professor Chris Whitty in St James's Park in London on 27 June.

Man handed suspended sentence for assaulting Professor Chris Whitty

A man who assaulted England's chief medical officer has been handed a suspended jail sentence.

Lewis Hughes, of Romford, Essex, accosted Professor Chris Whitty in St James's Park in London on 27 June.

The 24-year-old pleaded guilty to assault at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Friday.

Professor Whitty is pictured outside the Department of Health building on Monday
Image: Professor Whitty was accosted in St James's Park last month

He was then sentenced to eight weeks in prison suspended for two years and ordered to pay £100 in compensation.

Kalsoom Shah, from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said Hughes showed "little regard" for Prof Whitty or social distancing rules "when he accosted the government's chief medical officer in the street".

"His behaviour was both shocking and disgraceful," he added.

A second man Jonathan Chew, 24, denied assault in relation to the incident.

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Chew, who wore a navy hoodie for the appearance, also pleaded not guilty to wilfully obstructing police constable Steven Ozden.

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

It comes after the Metropolitan Police force launched an investigation into last month's incident.

At the time, officers carried out a welfare check on the chief medical officer, who did not suffer any injuries.

Lewis Hughes, 23, arrives at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London
Image: Hughes pleaded guilty to assault

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

A previous statement from the Metropolitan Police said: "At approximately 19:20hrs on Sunday, 27 June officers in St James's Park became aware of a man being accosted by a group of men. They spoke to the victim and checked his welfare. He had not suffered any injuries.

"Officers subsequently reviewed video footage which emerged after the incident and the matter was referred to the Public Order Crime Team. Enquiries continue."