Thursday, 1 October 2015

Plane Passenger Thumped Air Steward During Whiskey Row

A whiskey-swigging plane passenger, who refused to leave a Delhi-bound jet, thumped an air steward while shouting a string of obscenities.

Ashwani Mehta, 60, of Trenchard Lodge, Trenchard Crescent, Springfield, Chelmsford claims he was not drunk, but the small amount of alcohol he consumed reacted with medication he was taking.

He pleaded guilty at Isleworth Crown Court to assaulting Rob Clare-Campbell at Heathrow Airport on April 28 on board a Jet Airways Boeing 777.

The prosecution dropped a charge of being drunk on an aircraft.

Prosecutor Mr. James O'Connell told the court yesterday: “The defendant was causing trouble on the plane and the crew, including the complainant, formed the view he was under the influence of alcohol.

He accepted he had some alcohol and there was a discussion about him sitting quietly so the plane could take off, but that did not get anywhere and he was asked to leave the plane.

He was told he would be booked onto the next flight and this caused an escalation with the defendant saying: 'You police shoot people.'

He grabbed a water bottle and hit himself with it while shouting in Hindi and the complainant recognised some of the words as: 'Go f*** yourself. F*** your sister.'

He punched out at the victim, catching him in the neck and causing a small cut and ripped off Mr. Clare-Campbell's identity badge.”

Afterwards the vicim said he was “upset and shaken” and it was first time he had been assaulted in twenty years working in the industry.

Mehta's lawyer Mr. Paul Evans said: “He has a modest drinking problem and when he does drink it triggers and adverse reaction from the number of medications that he is on.

He was spoken to by the staff in a manner that he felt was more than rude.

He has no real memory of the incident, but does regret his actions.”

The Recorder of Kensington and Chelsea Judge Richard McGregor-Johnson told Mehta, who lives on Disability Living Allowance: “I accept you were not drunk, but having drunk some whiskey you gave the impression, due to the medication, that you were.

You were carrying an open bottle of whiskey and if this had happened while the plane was in the air custody would be on the cards.

Mr. Clare-Campbell was doing his job.”

Mehta was placed on a twelve-month community order, which includes a twenty-day rehabilitation requirement and he was ordered to pay £50 costs, plus a victim surcharge and court charge.

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