Briton to stand trial for bomb scare on flight

DUBAI — The British national who caused a bomb scare on an Emirates flight from Manchester to Dubai on July 9 was referred to the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance on Wednesday.

By Mary Nammour

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Published: Sat 9 Aug 2008, 1:10 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 5:01 PM

The Public Prosecution charged Mark Winter with jeopardising the safety of the plane, assaulting others and consuming liquor.

Winter was reportedly drunk when he had an argument with a stewardess and told her that there was a bomb on the plane.

All passengers were evacuated from the plane upon landing in Dubai International Airport and the aircraft was searched thoroughly. The bomb threat turned out to be a hoax.

Salem Mohammed Al Qaidi, Senior Prosecutor, said, "Winter claimed in front of one woman passenger and her son that he has got a bomb which is going to explode within seven minutes. He did that when the plane was still flying."

Al Qaidi also revealed that the accused assaulted two British nationals causing them injuries. "The Public Prosecution has recorded the statements of the witnesses and the Criminal Laboratory examined the mobile phone found in the possession of the accused at that time," Al Qaidi noted.

Though the lab tests proved that he was under the influence of drugs and a mind-altering substance at the time of the incident, the prosecution decided not to press charges against him in this regard as the use of drugs took place in the UK.

It is not yet clear the sentence Winter will be facing if he is convicted as creating a bomb scare is new to the UAE.

Legal counsel Yousuf Hammad of Hammad and Associates Advocates and Legal Consultants told Khaleej Times, "The accused may be face a jail sentence up to one year and a fine for the misdemeanour of assault. As to the alcohol consumption charge, it is most probable a fine between Dh500 and Dh2000 could be imposed on him."

An Emirates spokesperson had said soon after the incident aboard EK20 from Manchester to Dubai, "The safety of the aircraft was at no time compromised. However, Emirates takes such incidents very seriously and will not tolerate disruptive passengers onboard our aircraft."

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