Appearing handcuffed in Courtroom 102 today, March 13, 2018 before His Honour Justice Frank Valente is 31 year old Awale Yousef Abdi from Ottawa. Abdi’s original charges are endangering aircraft and assault on an aircraft which have a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Crown Attorney is Piera Pasloski and defence lawyer is Christopher Watkins.
Abdi is in the prisoner’s box under the careful watch of Thunder Bay Police. Abdi is very dark skinned, about 5’5” tall,slender to medium build, short hair wearing jeans about halfway down his ass , a black “WUTANG” shirt and black jacket.
His lawyer Watkins has struck a very good deal for him to plead guilty to Section 175-1(a) of the Criminal Code of Causing a Disturbance. There is a joint submission from both counsel.
Admitted facts before the court are that Air Canada Flight 168 left Edmonton on January 12,2018 bound for Toronto with Abdi in Seat 32D. This flight had 120 passengers and five crew on board.Approximately 1 hour into flight, aircraft attendants discovered Abdi drinking from his own liquor bottle, a 200ml Remy Martin. His alcohol was taken and he was told not to drink anymore. Approximately another hour later, he was discovered with 2 cups of beer. One cup of beer was taken and Abdi became upset telling the airline attendant “I’m going to punch you in the head”. Several other passengers immediately surrounded Abdi and Abdi chose to sit back down in his seat.
The pilot made a difficult decision for the protection of crew and passengers to divert and land the plane in Thunder Bay. The plane landed at Thunder Bay Airport shortly after 4pm that afternoon and Awale Yousef Abdi complied with a request to leave the plane. He was arrested by Thunder Bay Police at 4:11pm and has been in custody at the Thunder Bay Jail ever since.
Defence lawyer Watkins tells the court that his client is a small business owner and not a regular drinker from Ottawa who did not plan on becoming intoxicated on the flight. Court also hears Abdi has been shocked by the conditions at the Thunder Bay Jail of 3 people to a cell and 23 hour lockdown.
The joint submission is for the maximum allowable jail sentence of 6 months total and 12 months probation.
Abdi has served 60 days thus far and it’s enhanced to 90 days credit. Therefore he technically has 3 months left but will most likely receive a statutory release in 30 days. The 12 months probation will have a condition that he is not to be a passenger on an aircraft. He has 5 months to pay the 100$ victim surcharge fine.
Crown Attorney Pasloski submits Abdi’s criminal record. He was convicted of 2 violent offences, assault causing bodily harm in 2002 and robbery in 2005. He also has impaired driving conviction, property crimes and breaches of court orders.
Judge Valente accepts the joint submission but is clearly not impressed with Abdi’s behaviour that day. He asks Abdi if he has anything to say. Abdi replies “No, I have no comment”
Judge Valente tells Abdi “Other members of the public were adversely affected by your behaviour that day. In this day and age, people are concerned about incidents aboard airplanes”.
Judge Valente accepts the joint submission which is the maximum jail time allowed for the reduced charge. A 6 month sentence total but released next month.
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