An air passenger who shouted obscenities at a cabin crew member over the level of service on a flight to Belfast was given a five-month suspended jail term today.
Terrance Morrison must also pay £400 compensation to a security guard 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 March 2 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 trouble started towards the end of the Flybe flight.
In a statement the cabin crew member claimed that as she collected rubbish Morrison said to her: “There’s no f****** point in lifting rubbish from me, you wouldn’t serve me.”
On being told not to swear at the attendant he allegedly replied: “I will f***ing speak to you whatever way I want to.”
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.”