At Antrim Magistrates’ Court, 51-year-old Paul Anthony Burgoyne pleaded guilty to nine offences arising from the incident on February 11.
Burgoyne, originally from NI but now living at Temple Close, Shepshed in Loughborough, pleaded guilty to four counts of common assault, including the captain of the flight, damaging the captain’s wrist watch, using disorderly behaviour at Belfast International Airport, behaving in an abusive, insulting or threatening manner towards cabin crew and recklessly endangering the safety of an aircraft.
Following the guilty pleas, a prosecuting lawyer withdrew a further charge accusing Burgoyne of being drunk on a plane.
Defence barrister Neil Moore asked for sentencing to be adjourned for a pre-sentence probation report, describing it as a “somewhat unusual case”.
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He revealed that having been taken off the flight, Burgoyne “made his way forward to the tug, the vehicle that pushes a plane from its docking area”.
“It’s interference with the tug that is the basis of the endangerment rather than it being in flight,” added the lawyer, who conceded it was still “a very serious charge”.
Freeing Burgoyne on bail, District Judge Nigel Broderick ordered a pre-sentence report and said he would pass sentence on May 22.