Chan, who was reportedly provoked with racially charged language by Kent, was taken to court in London after the latter claimed he destroyed the student’s eye sockets in a violent outburst. Chan would eventually be cleared of one charge of wounding with intent, bringing an end to the trial.
Chan’s friend and fellow Imperial College student Matthias Lee-Hifler recently brought to light more details of what transpired that night in an interview with British Chinese New site Nee Hao. According to Lee-Hifler, who was present when the incident happened, Chan was actually defending a female friend with whom Kent had made aggressive sexual advances on.
Here’s Lee-Hifler’s full account of the incident via Nee Hao:
“Earlier this year, Sidney and a group of friends (all of South East Asian descent, including me) decided to go celebrate sports night at the Imperial College Union bar. We had a great night seeing all our friends and had fun.
“Stephen Kent repeatedly insulted us and seemed to have a particular grudge against Sidney Chan. With most of his insults being directed against him. We obviously shouted back at him but Mr Kent kept insulting us. We had never seen or met Mr Kent ever before in our lives and had no idea what his intentions were at this point. However, we all then agreed that this fight ‘was not worth it’ and we proceeded away from the altercation.
“Mr Kent then proceeded to follow Sidney and our group down the road we were walking to go home. During walking that whole length of the road, he kept on shouting racial slurs and asking for a fight. At the end of the road, Mr Kent rushed towards us and we tried to calm the situation down and asked Mr Kent to leave. At this point, he pushed me away and grabbed our female friend and started to make sexually aggressive remarks about her. Sidney than pushed Mr Kent away from his lady friend. Mr Kent got very frustrated and started racially abusing us again and threw a punch at Sidney. Sidney then decided to take the necessary steps to defend himself and his friends.
“The brawl was very short and only lasted 30-60 seconds. It was at this point that a lorry driver stopped at the scene. Sidney then went home, whilst myself and the other Eurasian looked over Mr Kent (despite him being a white supremacist). Having done first aid courses, I positioned Mr Kent in the lateral security position to prevent him from choking or so and checked his pulse and consciousness.
“The lorry driver got out of the truck cab and me and the other Eurasian friend asked him to call an ambulance, so that Mr Kent could receive the care he needed (despite him being so aggressive to us). The ambulance and the police came shortly. We each had to give a testimony on what happened when the police came.”
Lee-Hifler mentioned that the incident and the aftermath has deeply affected Chan, who now worries about his future career prospects despite being cleared of the charges unanimously by the votes of the jury in November.
Lee-Hifler explained that Sidney does not feel comfortable to talk more about the incident himself after what had happened. He clarified that Sidney never kicked Kent’s head twice while he was laying unconscious, which would be out of his character. He also denied the report that they made fun of Kent’s hairstyle and the insinuation that the lorry driver did “come out to check” as it was he who did the first aid on Kent.