Air passenger 'shouted obscenities'

Published Monday, 11 August 2014
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An air passenger who shouted obscenities at a cabin crew member over the level of service on a flight to Belfast has been given a five-month suspended jail term.

Air passenger 'shouted obscenities'
The plane landed at George Best Belfast City Airport. (© UTV)

Terrance Morrison must also pay £400 compensation to a security guard that he shoved after being escorted off the plane at George Best City Airport.

Handing down the sentence, Deputy District Judge Philip Mateer described his actions as "outrageous".

He told Morrison: "In the context of air travel that kind of behaviour is shown zero tolerance by the courts."

The 54-year-old defendant subjected the flight attendant to a tirade of verbal abuse as he returned from London Gatwick in London on 2 March this year.

Morrison, of Mount Merrion Avenue, Belfast, had been set to contest the allegations - but instead entered guilty pleas to charges of disorderly behaviour on an aircraft, behaving disorderly at Belfast City Airport and common assault.

A fourth count of being drunk on an airplane was dismissed.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard that trouble started towards the end of the Flybe flight.

The cabin crew member claimed that as she collected rubbish Morrison used bad language when speaking to her.

On being told not to swear at the attendant, he again used an obscenity.

Once the flight had landed he pushed and directed more obscenities at a security guard, the court heard.

Defence counsel Mark Farrell said his client had been returning with others from a charity event in London.

"They requested drinks and it appears that there was some disharmony generated by a lack of attention being paid to passengers by staff," he told the court.

"The bell had been called a number of times and hadn't been responded to."

He accepted his client had behaved badly and could have upset anyone who heard him.

But the barrister stressed that there was absolutely no suggestion of any threat to the safety of the airplane, crew or passengers.

"These are obviously concerning times for air travel, we all know matters can develop to such an extent that there's a real danger to people's lives in such a confined space," he said.

"But this is not such a case. This is a case of disorder on an aircraft."

With Morrison deemed unfit for community service due to a collapsed lung, the judge handed down a five month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered him to pay £400 in compensation.

Mr Mateer said: "This was entirely reprehensible behaviour, much to the upset of cabin crew and no doubt any passengers who may have been in earshot."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Stephen in Antrim wrote (171 days ago):
Such drama-queen comments. 1) You cannot ban alcohol on flights just because one person on one flight becomes abusive. 2) Restaurants aren't filled with worried travellers with no door outside. 3) dongloesean, what utter crap.
Eusebio in Birmingham wrote (171 days ago):
Agree wholeheartedly with dongloesean having been a a victim of a Flybe jumped up, flight attendant who threatened me with removal from the aircraft over a slightly sarcastic remark I made to her when being welcomed aboard after a 4 hour delay.I had to sit down like a naughty schoolboy. Never been impressed with this airline,
sandra in New York wrote (171 days ago):
Dingolese in Anytown Please tell me how cane you can be 'sure Terrance was a gentleman at the beginning of the flight. Where you there ?
RIC in Tyrone wrote (171 days ago):
There seems to be a requirement for staff retraining, its not a good idea to ignore passengers during a flight, some people can have a fear of travelling by plane. However this airline should consider removing alcohol totally from their flights, to avoid this problem happening again.
Interested in Lisburn wrote (172 days ago):
Perhaps the sensible attitude of no alcohol being served and prohibiting those with alcohol consumed might be considered by the airlines. It is dreadful that sober and decent people must put up with this nonsense. The smoking ban on board planes was accepted. Planes fly just as well with sober passengers.
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