A human rights lawyer from Ireland, Simone Burns, has been sent to jail for six months on grounds of misbehaviour while flying from Mumbai to London in Air India in November last year. The woman was caught on camera hurling abusive rants at an Air India crew member, as she was refused alcohol.
During the hearing at the Isleworth Crown Court in London on Thursday, Burns was described as 'drunk and obnoxious.' She also spat a the flight attendant. The judge took a note of it and called it an 'insulting and upsetting act.' Judge Nicholas Wood sentenced the 50-year-old to six months in prison for being drunk on an aircraft and two months for assault. The sentences are to run concurrently after she previously pleaded guilty to the charges. He said,"The experience of a drunk and irrational person in the confines of an aircraft is frightening, not least on a long-haul flight, and poses a potential risk to safety."
Expressing his disgust he added, "You were drunk and obnoxious almost from the beginning to the end. You were abusive, contemptuous and confrontational and used appalling language."
The court took cognizance of the fact that the lawyer drank three bottles of wine on the long-haul flight before calling the cabin crew "Indian money-gabbing (expletive)" as she further denied any more red wine on account of being too drunk.
"I'm a (expletive) International lawyer!" she told the attendants during her tirade before retreating to the toilets to attempt at smoking. She was given several warnings before being arrested on landing in London.
A member of the Air India cabin crew said that he had never seen anything like that during his 34-year aviation career.
"What this has done, thanks to social media, you have had death threats and been a hermit in your home.
You are a person who has done good work throughout your life," added the Judge as Burns has worked with refugees around the world. He also stressed on the act that neither was this a lady who has a drinking problem, nor was it a woman who has a drug problem, this was totally an out of character which was racially aggravated that upset the entire airline staff.