View Full Version : Least convincing defence ever?

I'd rather
6th Apr 2001, 16:22
I was too drunk to fly, says attacker
By Isambard Wilkinson in Madrid

A BRITON who attacked an air hostess with a vodka bottle on a flight from Gatwick to Malaga claimed yesterday that he should never have been allowed to board the aircraft.

Steven Handy, 40, who has admitted assaulting Fiona Weir, 33, and a Spanish policeman, told a court in Malaga: "I should not have been allowed to board that plane when everyone could see I was drunk."

Mrs Weir, from Wimbledon, south London, last month told the court she thought Handy would kill her. She was permanently scarred when he smashed the bottle over her head before repeatedly stabbing her with its jagged edge.

The court heard that Handy, who was abusive throughout the two-and-half-hour Airtours flight on Oct 30 1998, attacked Mrs Weir after she told him that Spanish police would be waiting for him when the aircraft landed. She managed to escape from Handy when other passengers restrained him but she later collapsed on the runway.

Handy, from Coventry, who was extradited in December, admitted drinking most of a litre bottle of vodka before the flight. He said: "My defence is I had no intent. I never intended to do it. I am not a violent person unless someone puts my back up and I am drunk. I just lost it when I heard the word police. I just exploded."

Three Spanish police officers said Handy fiercely resisted arrest when they escorted him from the jet. Another officer yesterday described how Handy kicked him in the shins as he tried to escape from hospital where he had been taken after his arrest.

The panel of three judges said that Handy would be sentenced today. Spanish prosecutors are demanding a six-year jail sentence. In his final speech to the court Handy denied that he stabbed Mrs Weir with the bottle. He claimed he did not attack her again after first hitting her with the bottle.

Handy, who is unemployed and now professes to be a born-again Christian, said he had brought a Bible to court to give to Mrs Weir, who was not at the hearing. He denied using his new-found religion as a plea for leniency. He said: "I swear on my life it's not a ploy. I really have found Jesus. Now I can see when before I was blind - blind drunk, if you like."

"I am not a violent person unless someone puts my back up and I am drunk"????!!!! Oh well, that's fine then - you should have mentioned that before, matey, and things would never have got this far...

I hope he gets what he deserves.

ickle black box
6th Apr 2001, 16:28
From Yahoo News, he was extradited to Spain last November, and from the comment below;

"A judge will now decide the sentence and Mr Handy will be notified in prison next month."

I guess he's already spent a while inside, and is still there. No sympathy at all for him or others like him.


Drop and Stop
6th Apr 2001, 16:38
"I am not a violent person unless someone puts my back up and I am drunk"????!!!!

That should be tattooed to his forehead.

6th Apr 2001, 16:45
I suppose if any of us was facing a possible long sentence we might come up with this type of mindbending defence.

Perhaps he will sue the airline for the trauma involved because of their failure to stop him boarding the aircraft.

Crazy things hhappen these days.

6th Apr 2001, 17:06
From the Telegraph:

He denied using his new-found religion as a plea for mercy.

"I swear on my life it's not a ploy," he said. "I really have found Jesus. Now I can see when before I was blind - blind drunk if you like"

Nice one.

6th Apr 2001, 18:09
I know that I'm probably going to get shouted at for saying this but if he was that p***** why was he allowed on the aircraft. It's no defence, but surley it does beg the question. Is it not easier and safer for all concerned to deal with a drunk on the ground than at 30,000 feet? Or am I missing the point? How many passengers are refused on board every year due to over doing it in the departure lounge?

6th Apr 2001, 18:25
i was thinking along the same lines, but i presume that he appeared ok when boarding but probably started drinking large quantities of his own alcohol on the flight.

dallas dude
6th Apr 2001, 18:45
The way airline managements' expect on time performance, the gate agents really don't have time to vet each person (although in the US the FAR's specifically rule that no person who "appears under the influence" should be carried).

Therefore, these folk are able to "put on a sober face" for a minute or two and the problem now becomes the flight crews.

Until we have a national/global database for pax who misbehave and are put on an effective blacklist, the problem will not go away.

Too many times in the past, unruly pax call to complain and instead of being told to take their business elsewhere (ie drive) they end up getting free upgrades etc. The companies then wonder why the F/A's become bitter.

Passengers SHOULD expect outstanding service. However, it's a two way street. Unruly pax need to be reminded how inconvenient it is NOT to be able to fly.

Ultimately, the airlines would rather waste time/effort/money diverting a flight than lose a single fare. That's the (ironic) reality. They count all the beans. This rarely includes any application of common sense.

This guy has been watching too many US lawyer shows (it's not my fault).

I hope he spares a thought for Mrs Weir every day he's incarcerated.

Sermon over,

Delta Wun-Wun
6th Apr 2001, 19:51
"I am only violent if someone puts my back up"It oviously does not take much to put this animals back up.He should be banned from all airlines forever.I am not a pilot (yet)but what a horrifying situation to be in ....having to deal with this idiot whilst several thousand feet in the air.Just how do you deal with such a violent person in such a crowded and cramped environment.


Few Cloudy
6th Apr 2001, 20:15
3 weeks back, ex GVA "Ah Captain, we have a problem - one of the passengers in the terminal is drunk...." Me - "Well that's no problem at all - he stays here." Him "Seriously though Captain it is a problem and I need your agreement to take him...." Me " Was I smiling too much the last time? We are leaving him here - that's it."

It took a while but finally the message got through - evidently a lot of the guys must be agreeing to take these potential wreckers. We have got to be hard gentlemen.

6th Apr 2001, 20:28
.. prison, prison an an load more prison for a public menace like this...

6th Apr 2001, 20:28
I remember stories of soviet passenger aircraft often having a small lockable compartment in the aft of the cabin used for transporting prisoners. Could have some application for air ragers.This would likely not prevent the intitial outbreak of violence but it would make the rest of the flight safer.

6th Apr 2001, 20:55
He has obviously had good advice from his defence to embrace Jesus.In a deeply religious country like Spain it's the smart thing to do.
His solicitors are obviously better than mine; Norfolk&Good.

6th Apr 2001, 21:39
Just look in any International Departure Lounge where people are waiting to be called to their gate - they are actively encouraged to consume alcohol while they wait (more profit for the airport)and if their flight is delayed - then so much the worse. Problem is, they don't really come into contact with Staff who could prevent them boarding till they're at the gate.

7th Apr 2001, 13:31
He doesn't need to be in some Christian commune in Spain.
Jesus will be with him for all of his sentence.Ten years I hope.

7th Apr 2001, 18:57
I work for a large British carrier as Cabin Crew. Several years ago it was SOP to send a crew member over to the terminal to "root out" just such pax. Now all crew stay on board to facillitate a quicker turnaround. My company is also about to start selling Aftershock (the current trendy shot drink).
Is safety and security their main concern?! I'm not looking forwards to the summer friday night Ibizas!!!

7th Apr 2001, 21:55
Few Cloudy,
I'd the same occurrence at GVA (to LHR) a few years ago.
I went into the terminal and had a look at the bunch of guys. I spoke to one who wasn't inebriated and he passed the message to his buddies who straightened up and vowed "No trouble!"
It was scheduled and a short trip so I took them; had it been longhaul then that would have been a different consideration.

Epsom Hold 2
8th Apr 2001, 06:08
1) So warning someone that if they misbehave that the police may become involved is "putting their back up" ie provocative action?

2) "Now I can see when before I was blind - in fact blind drunk." Oh dear.

I really hope this guy never sees daylight again.

beaver eager
8th Apr 2001, 13:25
I read in the Daily Mail last week about a bunch of kids in Saudi who beat up their teacher.

When caught they were all publicly flogged.

I know that the human rights system in Saudi sometimes doesn't stand up to close scrutiny if you're looking for genuine justice but......


Methinks the do-gooders of the 60s and 78s have at last been shown up for the idealistic idiots they really are. Bring back personal responsibility and make the perpetrators of crime suffer the consequences, not the victims.

Rant over.