Man charged with assaulting Prof Chris Whitty appears in court lying in bed

The second man accused of assaulting Chris Whitty in a park in central London appeared on a court videolink yesterday lying on his bed in a dressing gown as he claims to have coronavirus.

Jonathan Chew, 24, and estate agent Lewis Hughes, 23, filmed themselves allegedly assaulting England’s chief medical officer as he walked through St James’ Park on 27 June. They appeared to put the government scientist in a headlock and demanded a selfie as he tried to break free.

Hughes apologised for any “upset” caused and said he had lost his job as an estate agent over the incident.

Hughes, who was sacked from his job as a negotiator at Caplen Estates in Essex after his boss saw the footage, pleaded guilty to common assault on 30 July at Westminster Magistrates Court.

Lewis Hughes
Lewis Hughes

He avoided a maximum prison sentence of six months and was instead handed an eight-week jail term suspended for two years.


The former estate agent was also ordered to pay a £307 fine including £100 compensation to Prof Whitty.

But Chew, who was also involved in the incident was further charged with obstructing police when he allegedly gave the wrong name while being arrested, denied the offences against him.

He was bailed in July and ordered to appear at the same court at Westminster Magistrates Court on 23 November. But he failed to attend, claiming that he was unable to stand trial because he had tonsillitis. Now he says he has tested positive for Covid-19.

Chew’s lawyer Peter Fallen told the court he had tested positive for coronavirus.

But Daniel O’Donoghue, prosecuting, questioned the Covid test results.

Before the trial began yesterday afternoon, Fallen told the court he was withdrawing from the case because he is “professionally embarrassed”.

“I am no longer able to continue to represent Mr Chew, I’m sorry to tell you, for professional reasons,” he told the court.

Chew became increasingly frustrated during the hearing and insisted Professor Whitty should be at court.

“The law is that I have the right for him to come,” he demanded. “I want Chris Whitty there.”

“I suspect I know a bit about the law than you do,” Judge Goldspring responded, explaining that Professor Whitty does not legally have to attend court as there is no reason for the defence to cross-examine him.

Chew argues that he was just messing about and wanted a selfie with Professor Whitty for his mother.

“You’re getting it all wrong. I’ve been in court. I’ve agreed that Chris Whitty has to be in court,” shouted Chew down the CVP link.

“I feel like I’m innocent,” he added. “I’m answering an assault charge which I don’t think I’ve done.”

Judge Goldspring said: “A remarkable recovery, I might say, from where you were two minutes ago [owed to ill health caused by Covid-19].”

“You’re not listening to me,” Chew responded. “I’ve got diagnosed coronavirus. Are you saying corona is not real now? feel like what you’re doing now is victimising me. You’re calling me a liar.”

Judge Goldspring said: “Your cavalier approach to the severity of these proceedings is breath-taking.”

The judge was forced to suspend the trial until 4 January 2022 because Chew was unable to see the CCTV evidence via the video link.

“There does come a point, whether or not Mr Chew can or can’t see [the CCTV] that the proceedings become a bit of a farce,” said Judge Goldspring.

Chew has been told to finding new legal representation before then and he must appear in person.

He is on conditional bail and must stay at the given address.



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  1. Countrybumpkin

    Estate agency news …

    1. AcornsRNuts

      Indeed it is a very tenuous link. The now ex-estate agent has been dealt with. This is his friend, if that is the appropriate word.


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