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Air rage fine halved

05.04.08

A man who caused chaos on a holiday flight asked appeal judges to cut his fine - because he could not afford it. Jobless Brian Waters, 35, claimed a sheriff got his sums wrong and imposed an £1100 penalty after miscalculating how much he received in benefits. Plus he still owed his family the £300 it cost him to get back home because the airline refused to honour his ticket for the return leg of the flight.

An earlier trial heard how families jetting from Glasgow Airport to Spain bombarded cabin staff with complaints about the antics of 4 men who had been drinking before the Boeing 757 left the airport in May last year. One woman with a baby in her arms was crying hysterically, Paisley Sheriff Court was told.

Cabin manageress Belinda Donnachie, who had her bottom groped by one of the men, said: ‘In all of the years I have been flying, I have never seen anything like it.’ Mr Waters came out of the toilet cubicle, next to the flight deck, reeking of nicotine. A check discovered cigarette ash in the wash-hand basin.

Mr Waters of Greenend Avenue, Johnstone, was found guilty of smoking in the aircraft toilet and of a breach of the peace. Sheriff George Kavanagh fined him £800 for the smoking offence and a further £300 for the breach of the peace.

But yesterday solicitor advocate Ann Ogg told appeal judges that the sheriff had mistakenly thought Waters was getting £190 a week when, in fact, it was only £190 a fortnight. She said: ‘The total of £1100 was excessive and would take more than 2 years to pay.' The general rule was that any fine should be payable in about a year, added the lawyer.

Lord Eassie agreed to reduce Mr Waters’ fine by half, and ordered him to continue paying installments of £20 a fortnight until the £550 is cleared.

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