Man, 24, jailed for eight weeks for harassing Chris Whitty in London park

27 January 2022, 14:17 | Updated: 27 January 2022, 18:15

Man, 24, admits harassing Chris Whitty in London park

By Patrick Grafton-Green

A 24-year-old man has been jailed for eight weeks after he admitted harassing Chris Whitty in a central London park.

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Jonathan Chew, 24, was one of two men who approached England's chief medical officer as he walked through St James's Park on June 27 last year.

Footage of the incident, lasting around 20 seconds and showing Chew alongside former estate agent Lewis Hughes, was widely shared on social media.

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In the footage the pair can be seen jeering as Prof Whitty attempts to break free.

Appearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Thursday, Chew, of Chelmsford, Essex, admitted a charge of intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress to Prof Sir Chris.

He also admitted obstructing Pc Steven Ozden.

Hughes, 24, has already pleaded guilty to a charge of assault by beating and was sentenced last July.

Jonathan Chew at an earlier court hearing
Jonathan Chew at an earlier court hearing. Picture: Alamy

Prosecutor Iestyn Morgan said Chew started filming Prof Whitty on his phone while Hughes grabbed him in a headlock.

The court heard how Chew then gave the name and old address of his brother Aaron to a police officer.

Mr Morgan said police attended that address on July 1 to discover a man called Harry lived there.

Officers were able to identify Chew was the suspect after he provided comments about the incident to the Sun newspaper.

Earlier in January, Chew's defence lawyer Rabah Kherbane had reminded the court of background to the case where at the previous hearing Chew’s former solicitor had withdrawn due to being “professionally embarrassed.”

Lewis Hughes previously pleaded guilty
Lewis Hughes previously pleaded guilty. Picture: Alamy

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

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.

Chew appeared at a previous court hearing via videolink from his bedroom wearing a dressing gown.

Hughes, of Romford in Essex, was handed an eight-week prison sentence, suspended for two years and was ordered to pay a total of £307 in fines and compensation.

He was labelled "yobbish" by the Mr Goldspring and was criticised for leaving Sir Chris "humiliated" after putting him in a headlock.