'Idiots' cleared of threatening to blow up plane at 30,000ft

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Two men have been dubbed "idiots not terrorists" after being cleared of threatening to blow up a plane at 30,000ft.

Tayyab Subhani, 30, and Mohammed Safdar, 42, were arrested on 24 May after a flight from Lahore, Pakistan, to Manchester was forced to make an emergency landing at Stansted Airport.

It had been claimed Mr Safdar, supported by Mr Subhani, both from Lancashire, had made threats to kill crew and passengers after arguing with air stewards at 30,000ft.

But jurors at Chelmsford Crown Court were instructed to find the men not guilty of endangering an aircraft after a series of witnesses told the court the men had behaved like "idiots" but they had not heard bomb threats.

According to the BBC, Judge Charles Gratwicke said the case was "tenuous and peppered with inconsistencies".

He added: "Under the circumstances no jury can properly convict these men."

Sky News reports the court heard that Pakistan International Airlines had launched its own investigation into the incident, the results of which contradicted evidence given by its staff to police and in court.

According to the Daily Mail, Peter Rowlands, representing Mr Subhani, told the court: "In fairness to the prosecution, it is now common ground that had certain documents held by Pakistan International Airlines been made available from the outset these two men would not have had to face trial."

The Guardian reports solicitor Raza Sakhi as saying: "This is a victory for Mr Safdar, his loved ones and those that knew he was innocent of the allegations he was facing.'

"Due to the misinformation supplied to the UK authorities by members of the crew of flight PK709, the UK was put to considerable expense.

"Mr Safdar was wrongly vilified as a terrorist based on the same information. Mr Safdar was separated from his family and remanded in custody for 73 days as a result of this misinformation."

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