x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Briton referred to court over aircraft bomb claim

The heavily intoxicated man is said to have been involved in an altercation and announced there was a bomb on the plane.

DUBAI // A British man who panicked passengers aboard an Emirates Airline flight last month after allegedly telling them a bomb would go off in minutes has been referred to the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance. The Attorney General referred M W to the court on charges of attacking a civilian airliner stemming from the incident aboard flight EK20 to Dubai from Manchester on July 8. According to prosecutors, M W, who was heavily intoxicated, became involved in an altercation while on board and announced there was a bomb on the plane. No explosives were found, but his actions caused panic among passengers. "He told a female passenger and her son that he had a bomb with him and that it was going to go off in seven minutes," said Salem Mohammed al Qaydi, the senior prosecutor. "We completed our investigations, interviewed witnesses from the flight and sent the defendant's mobile phone to the forensic lab for testing immediately after the incident." The defendant also allegedly assaulted two other British passengers, identified only as Y H and A J, before crew members and other passengers managed to restrain him. Passengers reportedly said the defendant made racist slurs against several Chinese and Indian passengers, throwing several punches in their direction. The defendant was arrested when the aircraft landed at Dubai International Airport, where he has been held ever since. He has also been referred to the Dubai Misdemeanours Court on lesser charges of assault and consuming alcoholic beverages. Mr Qaydi said blood samples from the defendant tested by the police crime laboratory showed he was also under the influence of two controlled substances, a grade one narcotic and another mind-altering substance, at the time. "We decided not to prosecute him on the drugs charge as he took the drugs outside the UAE while he was in his own country, so the criminal act occurred outside our jurisdiction," Mr Qaydi said. Prosecutors said last month they would prosecute M W for making a false report and placing passengers lives in danger. Police said the man was extremely drunk when he was taken off the aircraft and that he had an argument with a flight attendant on board. "The captain in this instance has the sole discretion to determine if his passengers' lives were in any danger from the man's actions and based on the captain's recommendation charges would be filed accordingly," a prosecution spokesman said. @Email:hbathish@thenational.ae