Tourist who became delusional after suffering sun stroke and diarrhoea is told he can fly again after being banned for 'psychotic episode'
Mark Smith, 34, was returning from Thailand when he began having 'abnormal thoughts' and believed terrorists were on board the planeClaims he heard a disembodied voice telling him to open emergency exitJudge says he was clearing in the grip of a 'transient illness from which he had made an apparently full recovery'
16:09 GMT, 30 November 2012
A tourist who caused terror on a Heathrow-bound passenger jet has had his three-year ban on flying overturned by the Appeal Court.
Mark Smith, 34, was returning to London after a holiday in Thailand in September 2011 when he started disrupting the flight and claiming that terrorists were on board.
Raving that suicide bombers would use arm rest remote controls to trigger explosives, he wrenched two of them off fellow passengers’ seats and fought to open an emergency exit door, screaming, 'I need to get off'.
At the Appeal Court, Lord Justice Toulson, who described the case as 'most unusual', said there was no evidence of any danger of Mr Smith's behaviour being repeated and the travel ban was not necessary
Mr Smith explained that he had had too much sun on holiday, and was suffering from extreme vomiting and diarrhoea due to food poisoning.
He had endured a nightmare 17-hour journey by boat and road to Bangkok airport, where he had a long wait before boarding the flight.
The holidaymaker, from Rotherhithe, south east London, started to have 'abnormal thoughts' while boarding.
He was violent and abusive to cabin crew who restrained him, wrongly thinking he was drunk.
During his bid to tear open the
emergency exit, Mr Smith said he heard a disembodied voice telling him
he was just two feet from the ground and it was the only way to save the
Mark Smith was acquitted 'by reason of insanity' but the judge at Isleworth Crown Court forbade him from flying on any commercial airline for three years
Last May, Mr Smith was prosecuted for causing criminal damage and interfering with an aircraft.
Psychiatrists testified that he had been in the throes of a one-off psychotic episode at the time, including hallucinations and delusions.
He was acquitted 'by reason of insanity' but the judge at Isleworth Crown Court forbade him from flying on any commercial airline for three years.
Lord Justice Toulson — who described the case as 'most unusual' — said there was no evidence of any danger of Mr Smith’s behaviour being repeated and the travel ban was not necessary.
The judge, sitting at the Appeal Court with Mr Justice Langstaff and Judge Anthony Morris QC, said Mr Smith had clearly been in the grip of a 'transient illness from which he had made an apparently full recovery'.
He concluded: 'The effect of the order was to impose an unlawful and unjustifiable restraint on Mr Smith’s ability to live a normal part of his life.'