This story is causing a lot of handwringing:
A Ryanair passenger who racially abused an elderly woman sitting next to him on a plane may “get away with it”, a shadow transport minister said.
The man was filmed calling the 77 year-old victim an “ugly black bastard” and shouting “don’t talk to me in a foreign language you stupid ugly cow”.
The video pretty much captures what happened. If a crime was committed, why can they not prosecute?
Labour MP Karl Turner, a qualified barrister who was once Labour’s shadow attorney general, said Ryanair had ”failed spectacularly”.
“Ryanair failure to deplane the alleged racist offender, handing him over to the Spanish authorities probably means that he isn’t now prosecuted.
Would the Spanish have been interested in prosecuting a British man for racially abusing a fellow passenger? Is that even a crime in Spain?
“Suspect the pressure to turn this aircraft around quickly and get it airborne meant that they have allowed this alleged offender to remain on the aircraft,” said Mr Turner. ”He may now get away with it.”
Apparently racially abusing someone is now a crime so heinous aircraft should be grounded while the police are called to investigate. Never mind the inconvenience to the rest of the passengers and the knock-on effect on other flights coming in and out of Barcelona.
Now the man in the video is likely a pr*ck of the highest order and if he said stuff like this without serious provocation, he needs a good thrashing. But the situation is a little more complicated than the media is letting on. Ryanair had an opportunity to call the Spanish police to say a passenger is being unruly, but what would they have said? One passenger is yelling at another? Unless he’s presenting a security threat, I’m not sure the Spaniards would have been interested. Better for them to let the plane depart taking these assh*le Brits with them. So they couldn’t have got him arrested for security offences in Barcelona even if they’d wanted to, and now everyone’s complaining he’s not been arrested for racism. But it happened in Spain, and:
“Unfortunately because Ryanair is registered in Dublin not in the UK the alleged offence could only be tried by UK authorities if it was ‘in flight’ to the UK. Section 92(1) Civil Aviation Act s.92(4) defines ‘in flight’.
“If this incident had have happened on an alternative airline under ‘British Control’ or it was already ‘in flight’ to the UK the prosecuting authorities could have prosecuted.”
So the outrage is really that the rest of the world isn’t as interested in prosecuting Brits for being racist as the British police are.
Essex Police said they believed the incident had taken place at Barcelona Airport.
“Essex Police takes prejudice-based crime seriously and we want all incidents to be reported,” a spokeswoman said.
“We are working closely with Ryanair and the Spanish authorities on the investigation.”
The sole justification for the involvement of Essex Police is that the plane landed in Stansted. But when racism is the issue, the entire world apparently comes under their jurisdiction. I suspect the authorities in Barcelona didn’t even answer the phone when they called.