‘Very real possibility’ that man accused of Chris Whitty assault could be jailed

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  • Chris Whitty
    British physician and epidemiologist
Jonathan Chew (Ian West/PA) (PA Wire)
Jonathan Chew (Ian West/PA) (PA Wire)

There is a “very real possibility” a man accused of assaulting Professor Sir Chris Whitty could be jailed, a court has heard.

Jonathan Chew, 24, and former estate agent Lewis Hughes, 24, filmed themselves with England’s chief medical officer as he walked through St James’s Park in Westminster on June 27 last year.

Chew denies assault after footage of the incident, lasting around 20 seconds, was widely shared on social media.

Professor Sir Chris Whitty (Adrian Dennis/PA) (PA Wire)
Professor Sir Chris Whitty (Adrian Dennis/PA) (PA Wire)

Senior District Judge Paul Goldspring adjourned the trial until January 27 after a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Rabah Kherbane, defending, asked for the case to be adjourned after Chew’s former solicitor withdrew due to being “professionally embarrassed” following the defendant’s behaviour in court.

Mr Kherbane said the defendant, of Chelmsford Essex has a number of conditions including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism which would make it difficult for him to follow proceedings.

He also said he had not received court documents in time and Chew had not received anything at his address.

Chew, who also denies wilfully obstructing Pc Steven Ozden, accused the Crown Prosecution Service of “lying” about delivering the documents to his home.

The defendant was repeatedly told to be quiet and stop interrupting proceedings by Mr Goldspring.

Lewis Hughes (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)
Lewis Hughes (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)

Chew was then told he would be fitted with an electronic tag keeping him at his home between 9pm and 4am due to “concerns” over him not being at the address on a number of occasions.

Delivering his ruling about adjourning the hearing, Mr Goldspring warned: “Mr Chew should be aware that Mr Kherbane has rightfully said there is a very real possibility there could be a custodial sentence.”

Hughes, from Romford in Essex, pleaded guilty to a charge of assault by beating in July last year and was handed a suspended sentence.

He was labelled “yobbish” by the same judge and was criticised for leaving Sir Chris “humiliated”.

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