x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Flight fracas a fiction, lawyer says

Police in the U.S. had determined that no criminal charges should be filed.

ABU DHABI // A passenger on an Etihad Airways flight to New York was cleared by US police at John F Kennedy Airport of harassing a flight attendant and endangering the flight. However, yesterday he faced charges in an Abu Dhabi court.

KK, an Indian passenger on board Flight EY101 in March, denied sexual harassment, cursing, violating public decency and visible drunkenness in the Criminal Court of First Instance.

His lawyer presented a report showing that after three hours of questioning by airport police in New York, KK was not charged with harassment or endangering the flight - two charges that are not taken lightly under US laws.

According to his lawyer, there were no witnesses to the alleged harassment.

"They were in a plane, everyone would've heard the screaming," he said yesterday in court.

He said KK received a warning after getting drunk on the plane, but stayed quiet for the rest of the journey.

He was also accused of stealing two bottles of whiskey.

"We all know that whiskey bottles are not placed at the end of the plane, they are placed in first class, and as an economy passenger, he is not allowed in that area," his lawyer argued.

His lawyer also said the man was a former Etihad worker.

"He was walking around the aisle and the flight attendants kept offering him drinks and champagne, as a former colleague. So that is the reason he got drunk," he said.

The verdict is to be announced on May 17.

hdajani@thenational.ae