Lewis Hughes, a 24 year old man from East London has been given a suspended prison sentence for an assault on England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Witty, on 27 June 2021. He pleaded guilty to an offence of common assault and was given an 8 week custodial sentence suspended for 2 years. Footage shared on social media showed two men (one of which was Mr Hughes) grabbing Professor Whitty, and him struggling to free himself. He did not suffer any injuries. Westminster Magistrates’ Court was told that Mr Hughes was “unreservedly apologetic” for the distress caused to Professor Whitty in what had been “10 seconds of complete and utter madness”. Mr Hughes’ defence barrister told the court that all he had wanted was a selfie for his mum, as he had recognised Professor Whitty from the television.

But did this man’s actions really amount to an assault? In a nutshell- yes they did.

Although the sentence was a custodial one, albeit suspended, it shows the seriousness with which courts treat assault matters. The victim in this case, Professor Whitty, had initially not wanted to make a formal complaint about the incident, but had then done so. Also, he had not sustained any injuries as a result of it. Legally however, the charge of common assault was made out (ie capable of being proven). These are often scenarios that occur in ‘normal’, ie less high profile, cases heard before Magistrates Courts up and down the country on a regular basis. Assaults can occur if a person, intentionally or recklessly, makes unwanted physical contact with another person without their consent (and even sometimes with their consent, but that’s for a different blog!), and often that can lead to cases coming before courts.

Of course there are some defences that an accused person can argue- self-defence and defence of another probably being the most frequently argued ones. But sometimes, the only option you have is to simply hold your hands up, admit your mistake and deal with the consequences, which is what Mr Hughes did in this case. As a result, he avoided an immediate custodial sentence.

Ringrose Law can help

That is where Ringrose Law can step in to advise and represent you if you are accused of an assault (or any other offence for that matter). We will consider your case (the evidence against you), as well as your instructions and advise on the best course of action- whether that is to enter a ‘not guilty’ plea and advance a defence at a trial, or to plead ‘guilty’ and advance your mitigation to the court to try and secure a good outcome. We will always do our best for you at court and the police station stages, in what are normally very stressful situations.

Contact our team at wecanhelp@ringroselaw.co.uk or call our 24/7 contact number for Police Station Representation or help and advice on 01522 561 022.


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