A BRITISH teenager whose private joke to his mates via Snapchat to blow up their plane has been dramatically acquitted.
Aditya Verma, who was 18 at the time of the hoax in July 2022, was facing a fine of €22,000 plus a further €95,000 to reimburse the costs of scrambling a Eurofighter to escort the flight to Menorca airport.
The judge in Madrid ruled that the photo he sent to his friends along with the caption, ‘On my way to blow up the plane (I’m Taliban)’ at Gatwick Airport could not be ‘considered a crime.’
Unbeknown to Verma, he had sent the message in July 2022 while connected to Gatwick Airport’s free wifi.
It was intercepted by British security services while the plane was flying over France and the security services took it seriously enough to alert Spanish authorities.
The joke backfired horrifically for the group of mates when Verma was arrested by counterterrorism police on arrival in Menorca.
“It should be noted that the mentioned message and photograph were sent to neither an official authority nor made public,” magistrate Jose Manuel Fernandez-Prieto decreed.
He went on to note that, to the contrary, the message was shared in a strictly private setting among the accused and the friends he was travelling with, through a private group only for them.
Therefore, the accused couldn’t have possibly anticipated – much as he explicitly stated during the trial – that his joke with his friends would be intercepted or detected by British services.