A man was handed a suspended prison term and ordered to pay £100 ($139, 117 euros) in compensation on Friday for assaulting England’s chief medical officer.
Estate agent Lewis Hughes, 24, pleaded guilty to assaulting Chris Whitty last month and was sentenced to eight weeks in prison, suspended for two years.
Senior crown prosecutor Kalsoom Shah called it “a completely unacceptable act”, called Hughes’ behaviour “shocking and disgraceful” and said it showed “little regard” for Whitty and broke social distancing rules in place at the time.
Whitty has become one of Britain’s most recognisable public faces during the pandemic as a key adviser to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and regularly appears at televised government coronavirus briefings.
“Public figures should be free to go about their day-to-day work without fear of being targeted and assaulted,” Shah added.
Footage emerged on social media last month showing Whitty being put in a headlock by two men in St James’ Park in central London at around 7:20 pm local time (1820 GMT) on June 27.
Whitty was not injured during the incident.
A second defendant, Jonathan Chew, also 24, denied the same charge of assault and another of wilfully obstructing police.
He was granted bail and ordered to return to the same court for a trial on November 23.
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