British Airways passenger charged with slapping man, exposing genitals on flight

A grandfather-of-25 allegedly slapped a senior TV executive mid-flight from America to London after walking through the packed plane with his penis exposed.

Hatam Hamad, 56, drank five glasses of wine before reportedly exposing himself to Joel Vilmenay, who was with his wife and two young children.

Furious Vilmenay, president of New Orleans TV channel WDSU, confronted the Palestinian and American dual national - but he “responded by grunting” and showed himself to another passenger, a court heard.

Father-of-nine Hamad, who runs a family petrol station in New Orleans, was handed a six-week jail sentence at Uxbridge Magistrates Court on Friday, suspended for one year, after he admitted assault by beating.

Prosecutor Wendy Barrett said the incident unfolded about six hours into the British Airways BA224 flight from New Orleans to Heathrow on October 10.

Reading a statement from Vilmenay, she said, “He explains he was travelling with his wife and two children, aged eight and five, he had just taken his daughter to the bathroom and returned to his seat.”

Vilmenay, who was not in court, added in the statement, "After about five minutes a male, Mr. Hamad, came down the aisle to me, directly to my chair where I was sitting with my kids.”

“My daughter was awake and my son was asleep. This male had his penis out and exposed within three inches of my face,” the statement continued. “At this time I felt shocked and then attempted to stand up and shouted at the male, ‘what are you doing?’”

He said Hamad refused to put his penis away and “responded by grunting” before exposing it to another passenger.

Vilmenay said, “At this moment he used the back of his right hand and slapped me in the chest with some force. I was very concerned by what he might do to me and my family and the other passengers around us.”

Cabin crews were alerted to the incident in Aisle 23 and were forced to take Hamad to the back of the aircraft where he was guarded for the rest of the flight.

Barrett said, “Mr. Vilmenay sat back down and was concerned obviously about his daughter being exposed to this behavior.”

“Cabin crew, once alerted, approached Mr. Hamad. He had to be escorted to another part of the plane. Other passengers were moved from the very back row,” the statement read.

Miss Barrett said, “Having been arrested for this incident by police who met the flight at Heathrow he was taken back to the police station and interviewed.”

Hamad initially denied the attack and told police he boarded the flight alone, drank “five cups of wine” then went to sleep.

Miss Barrett said, “He said he didn’t get up, speak to anybody or touch anybody. He did explain he did not normally drink but was a nervous flier.”

He told police he had not drank alcohol for three months prior, adding, “I’m not crazy, I did not do the things you say.”

Hamad, who has no previous convictions, initially pleaded not guilty at an earlier hearing but today admitted assault.

Defending, Ranveer Authwall said it was “a serious matter and he’s fully aware of that.”

She said he has lived in New Orleans for 35 years and runs a petrol station and shop with his family of nine children and 25 grandchildren, who “all reside together.”

He was en-route to Jordan with $25,000 in cash to build a house there, she said.

Authwall said, “Mr. Hamad is anxious that he does not receive a custodial sentence. It’s also going to have an impact on his family.”

Chair of the bench, Lyn Green said, “We’re going to send you to prison for a period of six weeks, however this period of being in prison will be suspended for one year.”

She added, “There will be a compensation order for the victim of $789, a surcharge of $151 and costs of $112.”