A British airline passenger in her thirties has been fined €1,500 after a plane en route from the Canary Islands to Manchester had to be diverted to Cork Airport after she became abusive to the crew and her fellow passengers.
Gemma Campbell from Elston Road in Manchester was arrested by gardaí after Jet2 Flight LS910 from Fuertaventura in the Canary Islands was diverted to Cork Airport yesterday, after the 33-year-old compromised safety by being abusive on board.
Garda Gearoid Whelton told Cork District Court that he arrested Ms Campbell after the plane landed at the airport.
She was taken to Togher Garda Station where he charged her with two offences.
Ms Campbell was charged with being intoxicated to such an extent as to give rise to fears that she might endanger herself or other persons on board the flight, contrary to Section 2A (1) and Section 2A (4) of the Air Navigation and Transport Act 1973.
She also was charged with engaging in threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour with intent to cause or being reckless to causing a breach of the peace, contrary to Section 2A (3) and Section 2A (4) of Air Navigation and Transport Act 1973.
Garda Whelton gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution. He told Judge Colm Roberts that Campbell made no reply to either charge when he put them to her after caution when he arrested her outside Togher Garda Station on the south side of Cork city shortly before 8pm on Sunday.
Defence barrister, Emmet Boyle BL said that his client wished to plead guilty to both charges. He stated that she was deeply embarrassed by her completely out of character behaviour.
Garda Whelton said that Campbell was highly intoxicated on board the flight and became verbally abusive towards cabin crew.
She called a male member of the cabin crew a homophobic slur and was subsequently seated in a separate area in a bid to defuse the situation.
She was asked to correct her behaviour but she continued with the verbally abusive behaviour, to such an extent that the captain, concerned for the safety of all on board, felt he had no choice but to divert to Cork Airport.
The 100 passenger flight continued to Manchester without her.
Garda Whelton said that Campbell had no previous convictions of any kind either in Ireland or the UK. Mr Boyle said that the behaviour of his client was entirely down to the consumption of alcohol.
Ms Campbell, who runs a cleaning business, was deeply remorseful for her actions he stressed.
He said his client had drunk alcohol at her hotel in Fuertaventura before travelling to the airport where she had several more drinks. The cabin crew found an empty vodka bottle by her seat on board the flight. The court heard that there has been a row between Campbell and her partner.
Judge Roberts said her behaviour was completely unacceptable with the “homophobic slurs” being particularly objectionable.
Factoring in her apology for her “egregious behaviour” and the fact that it appeared to be out of character for Campbell he fined her €500 for the first offence and a further €1,000 on the second offence.