2 women given conditional discharge after Sunwing flight forced to divert back to Toronto
TORONTO – Two women whose “obnoxious and unruly behaviour” forced a Cuba-bound Sunwing flight to return to Toronto under a military escort have been given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay a fine.
Ontario Justice Patrice Band issued a sentencing decision in the case of Lilia Ratmanski and Milana Muzikante on Tuesday, finding that a conditional discharge would be “fit and proportionate” for both women.
He also ordered both women to pay a fine of $500 each and to pay $7,500 in restitution to Sunwing.
The pair had pleaded guilty to mischief to property and smoking on board an aircraft in relation to their time on board a Sunwing flight that left Toronto on Aug. 27, 2014.
Band’s written sentencing decision said that while on the flight, Ratmanski and Muzikante secretly consumed Duty Free alcohol they had bought on the ground, became “intoxicated and belligerent,” and disturbed both passengers and crew.
Band said the pair also smoked a cigarette in the washroom of the plane and discarded the butt in a waste-paper dispense, causing the smoke alarm to sound.
Band said a male passenger later overheard Ratmanski utter a bomb threat, to which Muzikante “responded affirmatively.”
The male passenger relayed what he heard to the crew, which passed along the information to the captain, the decision said.
“While the captain did not think the threat credible, he decided to turn the aircraft around,” Band wrote. “He knew that other passengers were concerned and was worried that Ms. Ratmanski and Ms. Muzikante’s behaviour might escalate.”
When the plane re-entered Canadian airspace, it was joined by two Canadian Forces fighter jets, which escorted it to Toronto’s international airport, Band wrote.
The plane landed safely, no one was injured and no property was damaged, but several passengers were “traumatized” and refused the opportunity to resume their trip several hours late, Band wrote.
Sunwing also claimed it suffered $42,500 in financial losses as a result of the incident, Band wrote.
© 2016 The Canadian Press