By John Ensor •
Published: 26 Jan 2024 • 11:04
Not guilty verdict
Credit: Juan Ci/Shutterstock.com
The National Court has recently delivered a verdict in a case involving a young British man’s ‘joke’ bomb hoax, while he was about to board a flight to Menorca.
On July 3, 2022, the accused, a 19-year-old man of Indian origin holding a British passport, sent a Snapchat message to a private group of friends while preparing to board a flight from London to Menorca.
The message jokingly threatened to blow up the plane, a joke that triggered an unexpected chain of events involving international security forces.
The message, which included a photo of himself and a text stating, ‘On the way to fly the plane (I am a member of the Taliban)’, was picked up by British security.
The plane, flying over French airspace at the time, was then escorted by a Eurofighter from the Spanish air force to its destination in Menorca.
Upon landing, the plane and its passengers underwent isolation and a thorough check, which confirmed the absence of any explosives or indications of a genuine threat.
The incident led to the young man facing charges of public disorder, with the prosecution demanding a €22,500 fine and €94,782 in compensation for the cost of mobilising the military aircraft.
In his nine-page ruling, Judge Jose Manuel Fernandez-Prieto of the Central Criminal Court analysed the facts and the legal implications.
He concluded that the accused’s actions did not constitute a crime. The judge noted that the message was intended as a private joke among friends, with no evidence of any intention to provoke the mobilisation of security forces.
‘An intention to provoke the mobilisation of the army plane, or any other police, assistance or rescue service, is not revealed or even remotely inferred,’ the judge stated.
He further added that the message ‘is made in a strictly private environment between the accused and his friends with whom he flies, through a private group to which only they have access.’
The court remained uncertain about how British security services intercepted the private message, as this was not substantiated during the trial.
The judge also dismissed the possibility of one of the friends revealing the message, citing a lack of evidence. In such a scenario, the individual disclosing the message would bear responsibility, not the accused.
This case highlights the delicate balance between personal jokes and public security, raising questions about privacy and the unforeseen impact of seemingly harmless actions.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
If nothing else he should be fined for stupidty and sued for all the money he cost everyone
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