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`Unruly' plane passenger given suspended jail sentence

Eamon Quinn at Antrim Court on Tuesday

A DRUNK plane passenger who was "unruly and disruptive" the whole way home from Glasgow narrowly escaped jail.

At Antrim Magistrates Court, District Judge Liam McNally told 30-year-old Eamon Quinn he was suspending a four month jail term for two years because of his early plea and "limited record."

At an earlier hearing Quinn, from Strand Mews in Belfast, confessed to disorderly behaviour at Belfast International Airport, behaving in a disorderly manner towards EasyJet crew and causing criminal damage to a police cell van.

A prosecution lawyer told the court how the flight captain called police to meet a flight from Glasgow on May 25 this year because Quinn had been "disruptive throughout the entirety".

With Quinn "shouting and swearing" as other passengers disembarked, the lawyer said police repeatedly asked an "aggressive" Quinn to "refrain from swearing".

Cabin crew described to the officers that Quinn had to be moved from a seat at an emergency exit "because of safety fears" and that throughout the flight, he had been "unruly and disruptive".

Arrested and taken off the plane, Quinn asked not to be handcuffed, claiming he "would comply" but having been put in the back of police van, he kicked at the door and was spitting so much, the van had to be cleaned "because of the amount of saliva."

Having been handcuffed "to the rear" because of his behaviour, Quinn "shout and swore the whole way" as he was taken to custody and was not fit to be interviewed until later that day.

Eamon Quinn at Antrim Court on Tuesday

Defence barrister said Quinn "regrets his actions and understands that his behaviour was totally reprehensible" but submitted that coupled to drink and drug addictions, he had mental health issues and his mother died a few months ago.

In an exchange with the lawyer, Judge McNally revealed that Quinn had gone to Glasgow by boat and bus the previous day for a football match but having been drinking the whole way, he was so drunk he was taken to hospital but had discharged himself.

The lawyer agreed Quinn "didn't make the football match" and claimed the incident had been a "wake up call".

Sentencing Quinn, the judge said it was "quite clear" the case passed the threshold for a custodial sentence.

"Anyone who had travelled on a plane can understand the difficulty you posed for the staff and other people on the flight by your behaviour," said the judge.

As well as the suspended jail term, Judge McNally ordered Quinn to pay the £15 it cost for the cell ban to be cleaned.

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