A company director who was arrested after joking to Air New Zealand staff that he had a bomb in his bag at Auckland airport has been discharged without a conviction, The Dominion Post reports.
Shaun Lines, 47, the owner and director of a Hastings-based PR and marketing company on New Zealand’s North Island – appeared before a judge in Hastings District Court on Tuesday and pleaded guilty to the charge of communicating false information affecting the safety of an aerodrome.
The breach of the Civil Aviation Act carries a maximum penalty of 12 months in prison.
Lines, who was due to board a domestic flight to Napier on August 20, was checking in bags when an Air New Zealand agent asked if his luggage weighed more than 23kgs – to which he replied: “I had to shuffle the bags around to make sure the explosives are under 23kg.”
It is understood that the businessman had just arrived in New Zealand on a flight from Europe.
His lawyer, Richard Stone said that he regretted the “stupid” joke, which led him to miss his flight as he was searched by security staff and later questioned by police.
No explosives were found.
Judge Rea said it was a foolish statement but that Lines was probably exhausted after his trip from Europe, adding that a conviction would be “over the top.”
Dropping the charge against him, the Judge ordered Lines to pay prosecution fees of NZ$250.
[via Dominion Post]