Belfast Telegraph

Man faces jail after taking life jacket from Aer Lingus flight

By Gordon Deegan

A judge told a company director that by stealing a life jacket from an Aer Lingus flight, he potentially placed someone else in great danger.

At Ennis District Court judge Patrick Durcan told Rohit Sharma (37) that imposing a prison sentence on him "is foremost in my mind".

Inspector Tom Kennedy described Mr Sharma's theft of the life jacket from the Aer Lingus London Shannon flight on Tuesday "as a most unusual crime".

He said: "This is no ordinary matter. I am there a long time in Shannon and I have come across unusual incidents, but I have never come across anything like this.

"The security staff at Shannon and Aer Lingus are taking a very, very serious view of what happened and why this happened. I know that Aer Lingus will not fly Mr Sharma again."

UK passport holder Mr Sharma, of Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, England, pleaded guilty to stealing the life jacket worth ?50 from under his seat on the Aer Lingus flight.

Insp Kennedy said that Mr Sharma stayed overnight at the Bunratty Castle hotel and the life jacket was discovered by security personnel in Mr Sharma's luggage when he was going through security at Shannon to return to London.

Insp Kennedy said Mr Sharma is an engineer from India and has been working in the UK for some time.

Counsel for Mr Sharma, Catriona Carmody, said that he was "mortified" and stealing the life jacket "was a moment of madness". She added that Mr Sharma's eight-year-old daughter does kayaking and he took the jacket for her.

Ms Carmody said that Mr Sharma was going to return the life jacket to Aer Lingus when he returned to Shannon Airport.

"Mr Sharma apologises unreservedly to the gardai, the court and the airline. He is very, very sorry," she said.

The judge said: "This is a most serious matter. It is not merely a theft." He said that he wanted to hear the view of Aer Lingus and adjourned the case to today to Gort District Court.

He remanded Mr Sharma on bail to appear before court today on condition he surrender his passport.

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