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HAMILTON, Bermuda – A 53-year-old Bermuda resident has been fined US$700 after admitting hurling abuse at crew and families on a British Airways (BA) flight to the island.
On Friday, a Magistrates’ Court heard that Helder Viera shouted obscenities at other passengers, which forced them to move seats on the BA flight from London’s Gatwick Airport to Bermuda.
Khamisi Tokunbo said the maximum US$1 000 fine for the offence was “peanuts”.
“This penalty encourages people to behave like this.”
The court heard that Viera had downed a mix of alcoholic drinks but “appeared lucid” when he began to hurl obscenities at a young family two hours into the flight.
He was warned by cabin crew to calm down and told that he would not be served any more alcohol and was later issued a captain’s violation notice.
Viera reportedly told crew members that he would do whatever it takes to have the “plane divert and report it to my solicitor in the morning.”
Viera was escorted off the BA flight by police when it arrived in Bermuda on December 31 last year and spent New Year’s Eve in custody.
The defendant admitted using threatening words and disorderly behaviour on an aircraft.
Viera apologised for his actions and said that he had been tired.
He admitted he had “stepped over the boundary”.
Defence lawyer Elizabeth Christopher said: “He is very apologetic to everyone, especially the crew. He is embarrassed. This was an unfortunate set of circumstances.”
But the magistrate told Viera the situation was “all of your own making”. (CMC)