A man who was arrested at Dublin Airport after what has been described as “a sick joke” about Ebola has been ordered to pay €2,500 to charity to avoid a prison sentence.
56 year old Italian Roberto Binaschi, is thought to have written the words “Attenzione Ebola” on the lid of a disposable coffee cup as a joke with his daughter while on board the flight from Milan to Dublin yesterday afternoon.
At special sitting at Dublin District Court this morning Mr Binaschi apologised and said he never intended to cause concern.
The court heard that Mr Binaschi was on a flight from Milan with his wife and daughter to attend a conference in Dublin. It is understood that Mr Binaschi’s daughter had ordered a coffee and he took a sip from the cup first. She then told him his germs were on the coffee cup and as a joke he wrote “Attenzione Ebola” on the lid. His daughter then finished the coffee and the cup was properly disposed of.
It is then believed that a member of the cabin crew spotted the words on the cup, Mr Binaschi was then asked if he had written them and he said yes.
The Judge in charge of the case Anthony Halpin said he could not think of a more serious offence given the present day fear of Ebola. Mr Halpin said it was like writing on a napkin that there is a bomb on the plane. “He was over international waters on an international flight, that is how serious it is”. Although after hearing from the defendant who said that he now realised the anxiety he had caused after what was a private joke with his daughter, the judge said it did not warrant a prison sentence.
Judge Halpin also pointed out that Mr Binaschi was disposing of the cup rather than bringing it to the attention of the cabin crew which was a deciding factor that had to be taken in to consideration. Judge Halpin said:”It cannot be described as anything but a sick joke,” Judge Halpin ordered Mr Binaschi to pay €2,500 to the Capuchin Friary in Bow Street in Dublin and applied the Probation Act.