COURTS

Plane bomb-threat accused found not guilty due to mental illness

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 April, 2014, 2:08pm
UPDATED : Friday, 25 April, 2014, 3:42am

A man who waved a Toblerone bar like a sword and made a bomb threat on a Cathay Pacific plane was freed yesterday after being acquitted on the grounds he suffered from mental illness.

Magistrate Raymond Wong Kwok-fai told Antti Oskari Manselius, 23, from Finland, to return quietly to his own country for treatment.

Medical reports produced in Tsuen Wan Court by both the defence and prosecution showed that Manselius was affected by psychosis when he committed the acts on an Amsterdam-to-Hong Kong flight on February 14.

His mother, who came to collect her son after more than two months in custody, wept and embraced Finnish Consul General Annikki Arponen outside the court after hearing the verdict.

Manselius had pleaded not guilty to behaving in a disorderly manner on an aircraft and giving false information on the existence of a bomb.

Wong concluded that his conduct was disorderly and that he did make the bomb threat, but found him not guilty on the grounds that he was suffering from mental illness.

"You should go back to your own country for further treatment," Wong told Manselius. "You must go back to your country as quietly as you can." He replied: "Sir, I understand."

A medical report submitted by the prosecutor recommended a three-month hospital order but the magistrate gave him an absolute discharge instead, considering the assistance he was receiving from his family.

The court heard his father and family doctor were due in Hong Kong to join him yesterday afternoon and the consul general was prepared to assist him.

Flight attendant Luk Ka-chun told the court yesterday that Manselius kicked the two seats in front of him after he was taken back to his seat and handcuffed.

"He struggled and fell onto the floor. The noise caused passengers in the five to seven rows in front to turn and look," Luk said.

Lam asked if Manselius was wearing a blanket on his head like a Ninja Turtle. Luk replied: "It was like the Middle Eastern women's way of wrapping their heads with only the eyes visible."