SEPANG - A German passenger who demanded for a tipple even before the "fasten seatbelt" light went off now has to serve a month in a Malaysian jail.
Bali-based businessman Dietmar Ross, 54, was sentenced yesterday by the Sessions Court over the ruckus he caused during the Malaysia Airlines flight, which was leaving KL International Airport for Colombo at 11.27pm last Saturday.
He pleaded guilty to a charge of endangering a cabin crew member by raising his voice, not abiding by the rules of the flight and using harsh words.
According to the facts of the case, Ross, who was seated in Business Class, had not waited for the seatbelt sign to go off before he stood up and harassed an air stewardess to be served whisky. She refused, and asked the passenger to be seated, causing Ross to berate her, using foul language and demanding to go into the cockpit to speak to the captain.
The stewardess sought help from her fellow crew members and a scuffle ensued.
Several other passengers stepped in to help the crew restrain Ross using handcuffs.
An enraged Ross then threatened them: "I remember your faces. I will find you and your family and kill you."
The pilot then turned back to KL International Airport and handed the man over to police.
Yesterday, Ross was charged under Regulation 70(1) of the Civil Aviation Regulations 1996 with imperilling the safety of an aircraft or any person on board.
The bespectacled, bald-headed accused, donning purple remand top and three-quarter-length pants with socks and black leather shoes, was brought into the court in handcuffs.
He appeared sullen and nodded when asked if he wished to plead guilty.
His lawyer Zaflee Pakwanteh asked judge Aizatul Akmal Maharani for the punishment to be in the form of a fine, and not a jail term.
"He has no previous record, and he regrets what he has done," he said.
DPP Uma Devi Balasubramaniam asked for a deterrent sentence, saying that the man had "raised his voice" and "used harsh words" on the plane.
Aizatul sentenced Ross to a month's jail from the date of his arrest.
Flight MH179 departed for Colombo on Sunday morning.