Laval man who disrupted Sunwing flight to Cuba ordered to pay airline $17K

Charalabos Nassios, whose behaviour forced a Sunwing plane bound for Cuba to return to Montreal last July, escorted by two U.S. fighter jets, failed to show insight into the consequences of his actions, a Quebec court judge ruled Wednesday.

2 U.S. fighter jets were dispatched to escort flight back to Montreal

Charalabos Nassios posted this photo, among other pictures, to his Facebook page before embarking on a Sunwing flight bound for Cuba. (Facebook)

A Laval man whose behaviour forced a Sunwing plane bound for Cuba to return to Montreal last July has been ordered to pay the airline a fine of $17,453.

In his ruling Wednesday, Quebec court Judge Pierre Dupras placed Charalabos Nassios, 40, on probation for three years.

During that period, he is barred from consuming alcohol or taking drugs that aren't prescribed by a doctor. 

The Crown had also asked that a travel ban be imposed on Nassios, preventing him from travelling outside of Quebec, but the judge rejected that request.

When Nassios appeared before Quebec court Judge Gilles Cadieux after his arrest on the July 6 flight, Cadieux said he had created a climate of panic in which passengers and crew felt they were in "imminent danger." 

"The person was uttering threats toward the staff. He was intimidating other passengers, so the decision was made to turn around," said Montreal police spokesperson Const. Raphaël Bergeron in July.

"There [were] no threats about terrorism or anything like that. It was more like behaviour that was aggressive," said Bergeron.

Two U.S. fighter jets were dispatched to escort the flight back to Montreal.

Nassios testified at the time that he had struggled with a cocaine addiction, and he admitted to breaking bail conditions related to previous charges, including a prohibition to consume alcohol.

Nassios said he had a beer and two Gravol pills before boarding the plane.

In his ruling, Dupras pointed out that Nassios showed limited insight into his actions and their consequences.

Nassios was calm as he stood listening to the ruling, at one point winking at his mother, who was in the courtroom, as he sat back down.

With files from Matt D'Amours and Radio-Canada's Geneviève Garon