A man has appeared in court charged with assault following an incident in which chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty was accosted in a central London park.
Jonathan Chew, aged 24, appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court yesterday facing one count of assault by beating and a second count of wilfully obstructing a police officer. Chew spoke only to confirm his name and address – Parklands Way in Chelmsford, Essex – at the hearing.
He is due to return to court on 30 July, alongside 23-year-old Lewis Hughes of Wigton Way, Romford, east London, who was charged with assault in relation to the same incident.
Social media footage of Whitty being jeered at and pulled by two men emerged last week. The Metropolitan Police later confirmed officers had observed the incident.
“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,” a force spokesperson said. “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.”
This is the latest in a number of incidents in which Whitty, who has been one of the most prominent civil servants involved in the response to the coronavirus pandemic, has been publicly accosted.
Earlier last month, footage emerged of Whitty being harrangued in the street in Oxford, where he was attending a G7 health summit.
In February a video of Whitty being verbally abused by a teenage boy was placed on social-media site TikTok.