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Man who asked for crackers on flight to the US cleared after plane diverted to Belfast

The Californian man had been forced to remain in Northern Ireland for 10 months.

Image: PA Archive/Press Association Images

AN AMERICAN MAN has been cleared of acting in a manner that could endanger an aircraft.

Jeremiah Thede, 42, was cleared by a jury in Antrim Crown Court in just 30 minutes.

He had been on a flight from Italy to the US when he asked for crackers before the plane took off. Flight attendants became worried about his behaviour and diverted the flight to Belfast.

The Californian man had been forced to remain in Northern Ireland for 10 months while he awaited trial and denied being aggressive or violent to staff on the flight.

The BBC reports that he told the court he had only eaten an apple during a delay in Rome airport.

Speaking after the verdict, Thede’s solicitor Patrick Madden of Madden & Finucane in Belfast said Thede was looking forward to returning to his family and friends in California.

““This was an unusual but important case because the prosecution case and the decision to divert the flight was based on misinterpretations from the cabin crew.

“Mr Thede was nothing other than courteous and polite when making his complaint to cabin crew. There was simply no credible evidence that he endangered the aircraft or that he acted in a way that was likely to endanger the aircraft.

“We hope the airline will now reflect on the way it deals with customer complaints in the future.”

Madden added that he and Thede were considering legal proceedings against United Airlines.

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