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Last Updated: Monday, 10 March 2008, 22:09 GMT
Bin Laden plane claim bail denied
Delta Air Lines planes
The incident happened on board a Delta Air Lines flight
A US judge has refused bail to a Northern Ireland man who allegedly told a flight attendant he was a terrorist linked to Osama bin Laden.

Aiden Simon Mackle, 44, of Portadown, is accused of interference with a flight crew and assault on a plane from Atlanta to Dublin last month.

The plane was diverted to Bangor, Maine, where he appeared in court.

The judge said Mr Mackle had admitted "he cannot drink alcohol without suffering serious consequences".

An FBI affidavit alleged that he was smoking in the plane's toilets.

It also stated that when challenged, the man became verbally abusive to a flight attendant, telling her he was associated with Osama bin Laden and was going to hijack the plane.

According to the affidavit, he later told an off-duty pilot he was a terrorist. It also alleged he then punched an off-duty flight attendant who warned him he might have to be restrained.

'Gateway drink'

The judge said on Monday Mr Mackle's family had told the court he "can become extremely angry when drunk, although in the past his violence has been verbal only".

"Mackle has also been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and according to his sister, when the two illnesses coincide Mackle falls victim to 'depressive drunken rages'," the judge wrote.

The court heard he stopped taking his herbal medications before boarding and the "odd glass" of red wine was his "gateway drink to alcoholism".

Mr Mackle had been on his way home after visiting family and friends in California.

Man held over 'bin Laden links'
04 Mar 08 |  Northern Ireland

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