NI: Assault charge dropped against US man alleged to have forced aircraft landing

Patrick Madden
Patrick Madden

A court has dropped assault charges against an American man alleged to have forced a transatlantic flight to touch down in Belfast.

US-Italian citizen Jeremiah Mathis Thede, 42, was charged last year with endangering the safety of an aircraft, disorderly manner on-board, and common assault.

A constable with the Belfast International Airport Constabulary told Coleraine Magistrates’ Court last year that Mr Thede had caused a disruption by repeatedly demanding nuts and crackers.

He was returned to Antrim Crown Court last September, at which point the prosecution chose not to proceed with the charge of disorderly manner on-board an aircraft.

Yesterday, the court dismissed the charge of assault following a successful “No Bill” application by his legal team.

A trial has been fixed in April for the remaining charge of endangering the safety of an aircraft.

Solicitor Patrick Madden of Madden & Finucane Solicitors, representing Mr Thede, said: “My client is pleased that the court has dismissed this charge and a trial date has now been fixed to contest the remaining charge in April.

“Mr Thede has strenuously denied these allegations from the outset and has been forced to remain in this jurisdiction for almost 9 months.

“This has been a tremendously difficult period for him and he looks forward to clearing his name and returning home to his family in the United States at the earliest opportunity.”

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