Man charged after joking his cousin had a bomb on Auckland flight

Air New Zealand Q400, Taking off at the airport, New Zealand, 9 October 2019

A New Zealander has been charged after he caused a plane delay by joking that his cousin had a bomb.

Damien Tokutaahi Hadfield from Parua Bay was boarding an Air New Zealand flight from Whangārei on 24 August when he joked that his cousin had a bomb, prompting the airline to kick Hadfield’s cousin off the flight and search his luggage.

According to Stuff, the flight was able to continue to Auckland after a short delay.

The 26-year-old was charged under the Civil Aviation Act with providing false information about safety on an aircraft, which has a maximum penalty of four months in jail.

His lawyer, John Day described him as “an idiot” at the Whangārei District Court last week.

“This is serious because of the disruption to the travelling public. It was a hoax; a stupid one,” Day said.

However, judge Greg Davis discharged Hadfield without conviction because despite his actions, he had a clean record.

Davis said Hadfield did not deserve to have his record marked by “stupid, foolish behaviour” and that publication of his name would act as a further penalty.

According to Stuff, airport manager Michael Chubb said that while Hadfield’s statement was believed to be a prank, jokes were not tolerated.

“We’re in the safety business, we’re not in the gambling business,” he said. “I’m sorry it backfired for him,” Chubb said.

Featured image source: iStock/Rusell Hendry

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