An aircraft was forced to land in Saudi Arabia last November to take legal action against a marine officer on board who got drunk, behaved rowdily and risked the flight's safety.The 40-year-old Egyptian marine officer was said to be on board an Alexandria-bound flight when he got drunk, risked the safety of the aircraft and that of the passengers and assaulted and offended a crew member.
A number of crew members battled to restrain the suspect in his seat before they informed the captain, who made an unscheduled landing in Saudi Arabia to hand the man over to the authorities.Following the required legal procedures, the Egyptian man was repatriated to Dubai, where prosecutors accused him of rowdy and inappropriate behaviour on board the plane.
According to the charge sheet, prosecutors charged the suspect with possessing and consuming liquor on the plane. He was also charged with risking the flight's safety, offending and assaulting a Moroccan woman crew member and cursing her in front of the passengers. The alleged incident took place 15 minutes after take off.
The suspect did not enter a plea before the Dubai Court of First Instance since he arrived late for the hearing.
Presiding judge Fahd Al Shamsi will spell out the accusations against the defendant when the court reconvenes on February 22.
The airliner's Italian legal consultant testified to prosecutors that the defendant suddenly started shouting at passengers and crew members and risked their lives.
"When one of the cabin crew walked towards the suspect and tried to calm him down, she saw a liquor bottle [purchased from the duty free] in his possession.
The crew member informed the plane's captain, who instructed her to try containing the suspect. When she returned, the suspect was acting rowdily and annoying the passengers... he also pushed the trolley that contained the duty free items when he went to visit the washroom. When he left the washroom, he slapped the crew member and offended her. Other crew members intervened and restrained the suspect and then confined him to his seat. The captain made an emergency landing in Saudi Arabia and handed over the defendant to the authorities," the legal consultant claimed to prosecutors.
The Moroccan crew member testified to prosecutors that the suspect became angry when she refused to serve him ice for the liquor that he had purchased from the duty free.
"We notified him that it was against the policy to allow him to consume anything purchased from outside the aircraft... he got rowdy and cursed us in English. He ignored us when we tried to calm him down and warned him that his rowdy behaviour on board the plane is an act punishable by law. He assaulted and cursed me... then the crew members restrained him in his seat. The suspect's behaviour urged the captain to land the plane in Hail in Saudi Arabia," she claimed to prosecutors.
The trial continues.