Government Drops Air-Rage Case Against Ex-Scotish Prosecutor

AIR- RAGE charges against the high-profile Tory peer who chaired the Holyrood inquiry were last night dramatically dropped.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie, formerly Scotland's top prosecutor, was arrested after reportedly causing a disturbance on board a flight from London to Dundee shortly before Christmas.

The former Lord Advocate, 61, was met by waiting police officers at Dundee Airport and taken to Tayside Police headquarters, where he was charged.

But the Crown Office last night said it was dropping the case for lack of evidence.

In the days after his arrest, Lord Fraser angrily denied having been drunk, saying he had taken just one large whisky in the departure lounge of London City Airport, where the flight on December 19 had been delayed for several hours because of fog.

He said he was 'angry and astonished' at the charges, which he pledged to 'resist vigorously'.

It is understood the complaint was made by a stewardess some time after the ScotAirways flight took off from London.

Lord Fraser, who was in charge of the Lockerbie bombing prosecution during his time as the country's top law officer, was charged under Article 78 of the Air Navigation Order 2005, which relates to passengers alleged to have been 'acting in a disruptive manner'.

The section also deals with those who are alleged to have been 'behaving in a threatening, abusive, insulting or disorderly manner towards a member of crew'. The peer also faced charges under Section 61 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982, which carry a maximum twoyear jail sentence.

The Crown Office last night issued a statement that no proceedings were being taken following a report sent to the procurator fiscal in Dundee by Tayside Police.

It said: 'Following full and careful consideration of all of the available facts and circumstances, Crown Counsel has now instructed that no proceedings are to be taken, as there is insufficient evidence of an offence having taken place.' Following the reports of an in-flight disturbance, the crew radioed ahead and police officers were waiting on the tarmac for the plane's arrival.

Other passengers disembarked-while Lord Fraser was asked to remain on board.

He was then interviewed at the airport before being taken to the police HQ where he was charged.

At the time, fellow passengers said the peer's arrest suggested an overreaction by crew members to his questions about why he had not been placed in club class, despite having had a ticket for that section.

Lord Fraser said shortly after his arrest that when he asked a stewardess for a whisky, she told him he was drunk and refused to serve him alcohol.

He said: 'I was astounded but let it pass.' The stewardess is then understood to have rushed to the cockpit to report him to the pilot.

First Minister Jack McConnell chose Lord Fraser to chair the official inquiry into the Holyrood building fiasco.

The Tory peer was not available for comment last night.



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