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Dublin: 4 °C Saturday 14 December, 2019
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Italian man who made 'sick joke' about Ebola on Dublin flight spared conviction

Businessman Roberto Binaschi will make a €2500 donation to charity.

Th incident happened yesterday on a flight from Milan to Dublin.
Th incident happened yesterday on a flight from Milan to Dublin.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

A MAN WHO caused a security alert on a flight to Dublin by writing ‘Attenzione Ebola’ on a coffee cup has been spared a conviction after agreeing to pay €2,500 to charity.

Businessman Roberto Binaschi (56) pleaded guilty to a charge of threatening or abusive behaviour on board an Aer Lingus flight from Milan in what was described by the judge in court as a “sick joke”.

Binaschi was travelling with his wife and daughter as part of a trip to Ireland for a business conference when the incident happened. Both his wife and daughter were also arrested but were released without charge.

After pleading guilty to the charge in Dublin District Court this morning, Binaschi said that he took a sip from his daughter’s coffee before writing on the lid.

“Knowing the fact that she is quite keen on cleanliness I took one of the pens that she was using for study and wrote that sentence,” he told the court through an interpreter.

When the coffee was finished he then asked a hostess to put the coffee in one of the bins provided. When later asked by one of the airline staff whether he wrote the offending sentence he said he had.

Judge Anthony Halpin told the court that he “cannot think of a more serious offence given the nature of Ebola”.

“The only comparable example I can think of is writing on a napkin, ‘there is a bomb on the plane’”, he said.

Despite this, the judge said that he felt that given the circumstances of the incident and the fact that Binaschi has no previous convictions, a conviction was not appropriate.

photo (2) Roberto Binaschi shields himself from photographs leaving court. Source: TheJournal.ie/Rónán Duffy

Judge Halpin said Binaschi was not attempting to bring the cup to the attention of staff, rather he simply wanted to dispose of the cup.

He added that the flight was not “in the geoplane” of where Ebola is currently.

The court was told that the conference Binaschi was attending had raised €2,500 by way of a charity donation on his behalf. The judge ordered that this be paid to the Capuchin Friary in Dublin.

Read: Man who wrote Ebola on Aer Lingus coffee cup set for court appearance >

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Rónán Duffy

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