Charge dropped against Fredericton doctor who was kicked off plane

A Fredericton doctor who was removed from an Air Canada flight and accused of public drunkenness last summer is now in the clear.

Adrian Edgar feels vindicated but is still waiting to hear from Air Canada about treatment

Adrian Edgar was kicked off an Air Canada flight in July 2017. (Albert Couillard/CBC)

A Fredericton doctor who was kicked off his Air Canada flight and accused of public drunkenness last summer is now in the clear. 

Adrian Edgar was flying from Toronto to Fredericton on July 6, 2017, when the airline diverted the flight to Ottawa and had Edgar escorted off the airplane by police.

He was issued a ticket for public drunkenness.

Edgar's lawyer, Kelly Lamrock, confirmed the ticket has since been withdrawn, saying it was likely because there was no evidence of an offence.

Lamrock said Edgar will wait for Air Canada's response to the withdrawn ticket, while he considers possible actions against the airline.

Lamrock said Edgar would be looking for a public apology along with compensation.

"It's now clear that this man has been embarrassed and put through all of this, and there's not a single demonstrable thing he ever did wrong," said Lamrock. 

"I look forward to Air Canada finally having to address that, and if they don't, I'll wait and get direction from my client."

Edgar was unavailable for an interview Thursday, but in an emailed statement he said he felt "vindicated" and hopes this helps set the record straight.

"I worked for years as a flight instructor and many of my colleagues from that time are Air Canada pilots now, so the suggestion that I would pose a flight safety risk is not only unreasonable, it is a personal and professional insult," Edgar said. 

"That's why it was important for me to have this cleared up."

Edgar said he filed a complaint with Transport Canada because Air Canada has ignored him.

Tried to film incident

Back in July, Edgar told CBC News that problems started when he told a crew member on a flight to Fredericton that he was disappointed the airline no longer offered complimentary snacks. 

He said the crew member leaned down and whispered, "Listen to me, little boy, it sounds like you're making a disturbance" and threatened to have him removed from the plane.

I was quiet, calm, and not looking for a confrontation.- Adrian Edgar

Edgar then took out his phone to try to film what was happening. 

"For my own protection, I attempted to turn on my cellphone camera to have some record that I had done nothing more than tell Air Canada they should offer free crackers," he said in an email. 

"Obviously, I posed no threat nor violated any security rule that I know of. I was quiet, calm, and not looking for a confrontation."

The flight from Toronto was diverted to Ottawa. After getting off the plane Edgar was issued a $50 ticket under the Ontario Liquor Licence Act and caught another flight to Fredericton.

'Nonsense'

At the time, an Air Canada spokeperson for Air Canada Jazz Aviation said Edgar's flight had been diverted "due to behaviour of a passenger."

"It was absolute nonsense," said Lamrock. 

"He didn't do anything wrong here, and frankly as soon as a lawyer looked at it, everyone realized it was a ridiculous charge."

Air Canada senior manager for media relations Isabelle Arthur said the airline would not be commenting on the matter.

About the Author

Philip Drost

Philip Drost is a reporter with CBC New Brunswick.