Stansted case

Men have no case to answer over endangering aircraft

28/11/2013

East of England Crown Prosecution Service has this morning (28 November 2013) accepted a defence argument that there is no case to answer against two men charged with endangering an aircraft en route from Lahore, Pakistan to Manchester.

Tayyub Subhani and Mohammed Safdar were on trial at Chelmsford Crown Court over allegations they had threatened to kill crew members and passengers and blow up a Pakistan International Airlines plane which was diverted to Stansted Airport, Essex, on 24 May 2013.

Chief Crown Prosecutor for the East of England CPS, Grace Ononiwu, said: "The position of this trial has changed significantly since it began earlier this month.

"During the course of the trial the prosecution discovered further information that we did not previously know existed. The new material revealed significant inconsistencies in the accounts given by some of the witnesses. After careful consideration, I made the decision that it would be wrong for the trial to continue.

 "The judge has today directed the jury to acquit the defendants.

"I am satisfied that the decision to bring this case was correct. This was a serious allegation. People have a right to feel safe on an aircraft and those who it is alleged threaten that safety, whether they are genuine about it or not, can expect to be taken seriously.

"On the evidence available at the time we made the decision to charge Tayyub Subhani and Mohammed Safdar, we were satisfied this was a case which should be heard by a jury. Endangering an aircraft is a very serious offence which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

"It would be wrong of the prosecution to continue with this trial once we knew evidence existed which significantly undermined our case and so we took the appropriate steps for the trial to be stopped as soon as we could."