July 15, 2005

Briton to be released in US until ‘air rage’ trial

BOSTON (Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors on Friday agreed to
release a British man accused of threatening to kill all 247
people on board a flight to London on condition he remains with
his mother in Florida until his trial.

Sean Simon John Joyce, 38, is accused of becoming
belligerent with the crew of a US Airways flight from North
Carolina to London on Monday after taking sedatives and
drinking wine.

"He started slurring his speech and threw his cup at
passengers in front of him," FBI agent Scott Dietsche said in
an affidavit. "He pushed at least one flight attendant, took
off his shirt and butted another crew member in the face."

Joyce, a Londoner, then "swore repeatedly and threatened to
kill those subduing him as well as all the passengers on the
entire plane," Dietsche added.

The Airbus A330 was diverted to Boston, where Joyce was
arrested and charged with assaulting and intimidating a flight
crew member. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

"There was some disturbance on the plane," said Michael
Andrews, lawyer for Joyce, adding that his client took pills to
treat a sinus infection -- a medication that listed "behavioral
disturbance" as a side effect.

"He took the pills, had a couple of glasses of wine and
something clicked," Andrews said. "But this is out of
character. He's a mild-mannered family guy."

Andrews added a "contrite" Joyce has no recollection of
what happened.

While he waits for his trial to begin, Joyce must remain
within 25 miles of his mother's house in Hollywood, Florida. No
trial date has been set. (Additional reporting by Milt Gun in