A passenger whose violent behaviour forced a flight from Vancouver to London to be diverted to Iqaluit has been fined $2,000 and ordered to pay the airline almost $14,000 in restitution.
Darren Edward Cosby, 39, pleaded guilty to one count under the Aeronautics Act of endangering the safety or security of an aircraft in flight and the Crown stayed three criminal charges at the Nunavut Court of Justice Thursday.
Passengers on the Air Transat flight had to help flight attendants restrain Cosby while the pilot landed the plane in Iqaluit around 3 a.m. March 27. Cosby was held in custody at the Baffin Correctional Centre in Iqaluit for nine days.
There were 331 passengers on board the flight from Vancouver to London’s Gatwick airport.
"Mr. Cosby was quite intoxicated on the flight," said Crown prosecutor Amy Porteous. "He grew belligerent with staff and passengers and didn't calm down when asked to. At one point he actually had to be restrained and spent the next hour or so struggling, spitting, swearing at and threatening the people who were holding him down."
Air Transat says Cosby was drinking alcohol he had brought on-board.
A crew member read him a card about appropriate behaviour and took Cosby to the back of the plane, but he continued to act agitated — yelling, swearing, punching. He broke a coffee maker and cut his hand when he damaged a mirror.
The crew member read him the card again and warned him the flight might be diverted.
Cosby let the crew put him in plastic wrist restraints, but he got out twice.
Eight or nine male passengers went to the back of the plane to help restrain him.
Cosby lunged for one flight attendant's throat and made a fast, aggressive move to another flight attendant and was put in a headlock to the floor of the plane.
Cosby was kept restrained for an hour, during which he remained agitated and struggled. He was spitting blood and saliva on those restraining him.
When he complained about the wrist restraints being tight, passengers tried to cut them off with medical scissors to loosen the cuffs. Cosby lashed out at them and bent back the thumb of one of the people restraining him.
Cosby continued to yell and make threats to those restraining him, threatening to slit their throats and send their genitals to their mothers. He also thrust his pelvis at them and threatened to have sexual intercourse with them.
To those restraining him, who included a Welsh person and British-Canadians, he said "Welshmen should be slaughtered."
Ten to 15 minutes before landing, he attempted to bite the fingers of those restraining him.
Porteous asked for a sentence of time served, plus a $2,000 fine and $13,875 in restitution to Air Transat, for such things as fuel, paying the flight crew's overtime, and damage to the mirror and coffee maker.
Defence lawyer Patrick Bruce asked for time served and the restitution.
He said Cosby had plans to go to the U.K. to propose to his girlfriend and had tickets to go to Portugal. Cosby was working in Vancouver as an ironworker and had just worked 51 straight days to pay for trip to the U.K.
Bruce said his client doesn't remember all of the events and is completely horrified.
Bruce said Cosby, who has no criminal record, is a nervous flyer and this may have been a misguided attempt to calm himself, though he said he was not offering that as an excuse.
Cosby said he regrets his actions.
"I'm just a normal Englishman really. I'm not a hooligan. I'm not violent. I've never had a violent past. I've never really had a criminal record ... I will never, never drink again, ever."
Cosby has until Oct. 1 to pay the fine, but there is no deadline for the restitution.