A passenger accused of making bomb threats on an international flight, forcing it to return to Sydney, will remain behind bars awaiting a mental health assessment.
Muhammad Arif was charged with one count of making a false statement about a threat to damage an aircraft and failing to comply with cabin crew safety instructions.
The 45-year-old allegedly began yelling, making references to Islam and gesturing at a backpack he was wearing on his chest an hour into a Malaysia Airlines flight from Sydney bound for Kuala Lumpur on Monday.
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Arif’s legal team told Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday they had not been instructed to make a bail application and urged the court to allow time for a mental assessment.
“I’m asking the court to allow time for a professional to make an assessment in relation to Mr Arif,” his lawyer said.
“The report will show where the trajectory lies for this case.”
Malaysia Airlines flight MH122 left Sydney Airport at 1.40pm and landed back on the runway at 3.47pm on Monday. Credit: Flight AwareMuhammad Arif was charged with one count of making a false statement about a threat to damage an aircraft and failing to comply with cabin crew safety instructions. Credit: 7NEWS
The Canberra man, who has been in custody since his arrest, was initially scheduled to face court on Tuesday but refused to leave his police cell.
Arif’s lawyer said then that his client had “serious mental health issues” and did not seem to understand the situation he was in.
Flight MH122 departed Sydney International Airport about 1pm carrying 194 passengers.
It safely returned to Sydney nearly three hours later before a long standoff ensued on the tarmac, leading to Arif’s arrest.
The case has been adjourned until Friday.
If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For further information about depression contact beyondblue on 1300224636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.