Unruly passenger fined $10,000

Rosie Mullaley
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Israeli man was drunk, said he would shoot flight attendant

An Israeli man who held his fingers in the shape of a gun and told a flight attendant he would shoot her has been fined $10,000 for his unruly behaviour on board a flight diverted to St. John's.

Michael Lavarov of Isreal is lead into court Monday morning.

Michael Lavarov was sentenced today in provincial court.

"I'm very sorry from the bottom of my heart, to all the people," Lavarov said in a heavy Russian accent.

The 32-year-old had a Russian translator in attendance in the court room. However, when he got the opportunity to address the court, he spoke on his own.

He said he's never been in trouble with the law before. He repeatedly apologized and said he doesn't remember most of what happened.

That's because he was under the influence of alcohol and medication.

He got so out of hand during the Austria Airlines flight 87, en route to New York, it had to be diverted to St. John's.

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary was dispatched to St. John's International Airport on Sunday at 12:18 p.m. and took Lavarov into custody.

Officers spoke to witnesses on the flight to find out what happened.

According to the facts of the case read in court today, Lavarov was drinking throughout the flight and had taken six Ativan, which he said had been prescribed by his doctor.

He began shouting outside the bathroom and demanded more alcohol, but was refused by flight attendants. Instead, he was escorted back to his seat.

He then pointed his fingers in the shape of a gun at a flight attendant and said "I shoot you."

Lavarov was screaming and flailing around in his seat and would not calm down. He threatened several passengers around him.

He got so out of control, passengers and crew members had to restrain him.

He was also sedated by a doctor, a passenger, who gave him Valium.

Lavarov pleaded guilty to a charge under the Aeronautics Act — intentionally interfering with the duties of crew members by engaging in behaviour that endangered safety and security of the aircraft.

Criminal Code charges of uttering threats and causing a disturbance were withdrawn by the Crown in exchange for the guilty plea.

The maximum punishment for the charge is a $25,000 fine with 18 months in jail.

But Judge Mike Madden went along with the $10,000 fine, giving Lavarov six months to pay. The judge went along with an agreed sentencing recommendation by Crown prosecutor Mark Stares and duty counsel Catherine Boyde.

"This is an all-too-frequent occurrence in Newfoundland," Stares said.

Stares said he didn't seek restitution because the Crown did not receive any information from the airline about expenses incurred by the diversion.

However, he said, the unplanned landing did, no doubt, cost the airline money.

He said it was also an inconvenience for passengers and for the airline.

"Plus the fear for all involved," Stares said.

Boyde pointed out that Lavarov — a permanent resident of the United States — has no criminal record. And while he has no memory of the incident, he doesn't dispute it happened. She said he deeply regrets what he did.

"It's been a scary experience for him, being in jail in a strange country," said Boyde.  

She said Lavarov will likely also have to pay for a plane ticket to leave St. John's.

Lavarov nodded his head and thanked the judge before being escorted out of the courtroom.



Twitter: TelyCourt

Organizations: Austria Airlines, International Airport

Geographic location: St. John's, New York, Newfoundland United States

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Recent comments

  • Rockabilly Mile One More than high Club
    January 13, 2016 - 23:46

    Bowie sang backup for Iggy on The Passenger. This guy is no rock god. He may be highly trained as an operative? Be careful. He has a Jake Doyle jacket on. Didn't Johnny Cash's son do the same thing? Or did I dream that? "I can't wait any longer for what I want. I want a leather jacket. I want a leather jacket." - The Wiggles, as per, The Cockroaches

  • Darby
    January 13, 2016 - 10:56

    Makes you wonder about the overall stability of an individual who acts in this manner even with the alcohol. I'm guessing this character will be back in the news again before long.

  • Jason dawe
    January 13, 2016 - 08:40

    Well, if in Canadian funds, he is not doing too bad considering.

  • abby
    January 13, 2016 - 08:20

    He'will get an all expence trip back home , woun't pay his fine, get another all expense trip back for a court case,then sent back home again.How's that for nfld punishment.?

    • Downtown..abby
      January 13, 2016 - 11:16

      You read the article? He is fined already and no further court proceedings. He has to pay his own way home and if he were required to return to court the cost is his. I agree the law don't always seem fair but people with presuming attitudes don't help.

  • Dee
    January 12, 2016 - 19:45

    Wallace you are so right,he should have never been allowed to leave Nl without paying it but hopefully the U.S. Will revoke his green card and send him back to his home.

  • Why
    January 12, 2016 - 16:34

    "Lavarov was drinking throughout the flight" who served him????

  • Me
    January 12, 2016 - 16:12

    I agree Wallace. The idiot should be made pay up before being released or do jail time..

  • david
    January 12, 2016 - 15:32

    And we all know how fines are treated in NL....especially by a guy who will never, ever set foot here again. Why not make it $250,000?! Bwa ha ha ha hah ah hah ha...well done.

  • Wallace
    January 12, 2016 - 15:09

    $10K you'll never see

    • I know, eh?
      January 12, 2016 - 19:27

      I remember my brother getting a speeding ticket in Florida a few years back. He had to pay the fine on the spot or go back to the station until he could get the money. Lavarov had to be back in the US by Wednesday or lose his work Visa. I am sure if he had to pay this fine or a portion of it before being released the funds would be soon forthcoming!!