June 06, 2007

Aussies deported from UAE

Two Australian businessmen have been deported from the United Arab Emirates following a nightmare six weeks in a desert jail over accusations of sexual assault and drunkenness on an airline flight.

Mining executives Jeremy Snaith and David Evans, who received suspended sentences, flew out of Abu Dhabi at 2200 today local time (0400 AEST) aboard an Etihad Airlines service to Bangkok, sources said.

The pair and a third Australian businessman, William Sargent, who was acquitted of charges on Monday, have been in custody in UAE since their arrests on arrival in Abu Dhabi from Sydney on April 27.

Mr Sargent, also a mining executive, was booked on a flight to London, due to leave Abu Dhabi two hours later at midnight (Tuesday) local time (0600 AEST).

The trio have been detained in UAE since their alleged mid-air antics in first-class aboard an Etihad flight.

The men's lawyer Ross Hill said earlier on Tuesday that problems with seats, airconditioning and refrigeration on the original flight had been "a recipe for disaster".

"It was inevitable that people were going to be angry when they paid more than $10,000," he told the Nine Network.

But Etihad Airways spokesman Iain Burns said there was no excuse for the boorish behaviour.

"Anyone who goes to a restaurant and complains about the food or doesn't like the chair they've got doesn't allow them to behave in such an intolerable manner that they strip half naked and offer money for sex.

"The two just don't equate," he said.

Mr Burns said three hostesses, all aged about 24, were harassed by the men, but two had decided against giving evidence in court.

Read the rest of this article's from the source: The Sydney Morning Herald

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