Librarian charged in air rage outburst

A 32-YEAR-OLD Austrian librarian is due to appear in court today charged in connection with three alleged air-rage offences that forced a flight to divert to Shannon airport on Saturday.

A court in Clare heard Harold Albrecht, a professional librarian, had been returning from a five-week internship in the US, where he had been studying the Holocaust.

At a special sitting of Ennis District Court on Saturday, Albrecht secured bail in the case to reappear before the court today.

Albrecht and 199 other passengers en route from Washington to Vienna were forced to divert to Shannon airport shortly after 7am on Saturday following an alleged incident on board.

Albrecht was charged with engaging in behaviour of a threatening, abusive or insulting nature with intent to cause a breach of the peace.

He is also charged with engaging in behaviour likely to cause serious offence or annoyance, having been requested by a member of the aircraft to cease. He is also charged with being intoxicated to such an extent as would give rise to a reasonable apprehension that he might endanger himself or other persons on board.

All charges are contrary to sections of the Air Navigation and Transport Act.

In court, Insp Tom Kennedy said gardaí objected to bail on the grounds Albrecht was a flight risk as he had no ties in Ireland.

Insp Kennedy said it was not clear if Albrecht has any resources and said that the state was seeking a remand in custody.

Solicitor for Albrecht, Jenny Fitzgibbon said he is well-travelled and described him as “career-driven”.

She said that it was erroneous to describe Mr Albrecht as a flight risk, stating he is willing to abide by any conditions set by the court.

Insp Kennedy said the maximum penalty in the cases is four months and that the Director of Public Prosecution has ruled that the case can be disposed of in the district court.

Insp Kennedy said he was impressed by a letter handed into court on Mr Albrecht’s behalf by Ms Fitzgibbon.

Judge Aeneas McCarthy said that he would grant bail with conditions that Mr Albrecht sign on twice daily at Shannon Garda Station, remain sober, is to stay in Shannon and lodge his own bond of € 300.

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