Alleged unruly Air Canada passenger 'distraught'
Justin Frank's court case put over until October
A passenger whose alleged unruly behaviour forced a London-to-Calgary flight to land in Edmonton is embarrassed over the media attention the incident has attracted, his lawyer said.
The Air Canada business class passenger had to be restrained in his seat with wrist straps and duct tape by crew and passengers after he became abusive on the transatlantic flight on Monday, according to RCMP.
Justin Frank, 35, of Calgary, is facing several charges including sexual assault, mischief causing a disturbance, consuming alcohol not served on an aircraft and failure to comply with the instructions of a flight crew member.
He was released on bail on Wednesday.
Frank was scheduled to appear in Leduc provincial court on Thursday but the matter was put over until Oct. 4. He has reserved his plea until then.
"He's clearly distraught, extremely fatigued — that goes without saying," said his Calgary-based lawyer Rick Meunz.
Meunz said his client is a bit uncertain about the event. He said they feel like they don't have enough information yet to determine how to deal with the matter, but his client is aware of the seriousness of the situation.
"I believe he's very much feeling very overwhelmed about the media attention and of course it's causing him great embarrassment," he said.
Meunz said there are also questions about how it will affect his client's work at Canrig Drilling Technology Ltd.
"It's my understanding that he works overseas, and again I suspect that that's in the oil and gas sector somewhere, and he had been in the course of a very lengthy flight ... home when this incident occurred and of course there's obviously extreme fatigue involved in that as well," he said.
Meunz confirmed his client was sitting in business class.
"I know they sometimes have a tendency to overserve in an attempt to make their customers happy, but beyond that I'm not sure what his exact state of sobriety was at the time," he said.
Fellow passengers reported Frank was drunk when he got on the plane and kept drinking throughout the flight.
Canrig Drilling spokesperson Dennis Smith confirmed Frank was an employee at the time of the alleged incident.
He said while they don't condone the alleged behaviour, they will not be commenting further on the matter.
- An earlier version of this story reported incorrectly that Justin Frank will appear in court from the remand centre via closed circuit television. In fact, Frank was released on bail on Wednesday. The court appearance is also at 9:30 a.m. not 1 p.m. as earlier reported.Aug 23, 2012 5:45 AM MT