Jennifer Lauren air rage case heard in pub courthouse

Jennifer Lauren, niece of fashion designer Ralph Lauren Jennifer Lauren, niece of fashion designer Ralph Lauren leaves the hearing, which took place in the Brian Boru bar in Ballina, County Tipperary

The niece of fashion designer Ralph Lauren has appeared in court charged with being drunk and abusive on a plane over an alleged air rage incident.

Jennifer Lauren is accused of breaching the peace on the Delta Air Lines flight, which had to be diverted to Shannon Airport in the west of Ireland.

The New York-based jewellery designer wept before the hearing as she appeared before Killaloe District Court.

The sitting was held in the Brian Boru pub as there is no courthouse nearby.

A downstairs function room of the premises was used as a temporary courtroom.

Ms Lauren was arrested at Shannon Airport on Monday and held in custody overnight.

A police officer told the court that when the jewellery designer was being detained at the airport she said: "Can you say that in English please?"

The 41-year-old spent Monday night in a cell in Shannon Garda Station.

She made no reply when charged under the Air Navigation and Transport Act, 1973.

Endanger herself

The judge heard that Ms Lauren was ready to enter a plea to three separate charges, but he refused to rule on the case in full and said the plea to the charges would be dealt with at a second hearing on Wednesday at Ennis District Court in County Clare.

Lauren was charged with being intoxicated to such an extent as would give rise to a reasonable apprehension that she might endanger herself or other persons on board the aircraft.

She was accused of engaging in behaviour likely to cause serious offence or annoyance to any person on board the aircraft, after being asked by a crew member to stop.

Lauren also faced a count of breaching the peace by engaging in threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour.

More than 200 passengers and crew were on board the flight from Barcelona to New York when the alleged air rage incident took place.

Before the hearing in the public house, Ms Lauren became emotional and wiped away tears as she spoke with friends.

She was granted bail on condition she stays at a hotel in Shannon with her travelling companions and lodges 2,500 euro (£2,075) of her own money to the court.

Disruption

She has been ordered to sign on at Shannon Garda Station on Tuesday evening and surrender her passport.

The judge warned that he would have to take account of the nature and extent of the inconvenience to other people, as well as the costs incurred by Delta Air Lines, airport and other passengers.

"These are the issues that will have to be addressed and the court will have to be satisfied before they can be discharged," he said.

He asked for an assessment on how much the disruption has cost the airline, airport and passengers before dealing with Lauren's plea at the hearing on Wednesday.

The pub was packed for the day's court sittings, with the bar area cordoned off with wire mesh.

A representative from the US Embassy in Ireland also met Lauren at the police station on Monday and appeared in the temporary court to support her.

She left the premises in a black 4x4 and covered her face as she ducked past photographers into the vehicle.

The case is due to be heard again on Wednesday at Ennis District Court where sentencing will be decided on a guilty plea from Lauren.

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