A NORTH-EAST engineer has been jailed for three months for groping an air stewardess’ bottom during a flight to Dubai.

Terry Harrison, of Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, had been drinking vodka on the Emirates flight from Bangkok and was arrested when the plane landed in Dubai on April 2.

The 40-year-old, who claimed the woman brushed against him, has been in prison since then awaiting his court appearance at Dubai Criminal Court this week.

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He was also charged with breeching Islamic alcohol laws, despite the fact the airline offers complimentary alcohol to all passengers aged 21 and over.

However, the court ruled that, because the plane was registered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates alcohol laws apply, making it illegal to drink alcohol without a special licence.

Harrison pleaded guilty to drinking without a licence, but denied intentionally touching the woman.

Judge Izzat Mansour convicted the father-of-one of both offences, jailed him for three months and ordered him to pay £320.

It is believed Harrison will be released shortly due to time spent on remand.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We are aware that a British national has been detained in Dubai and are providing consular assistance."

An Emirates spokesman said: “We cannot comment on court judgments that we have not seen. However, many countries have laws prohibiting offensive behaviour on board aircraft and regularly prosecute unruly and disruptive passengers for such incidents.

“The international community is also currently taking steps to update the Tokyo Convention regarding disruptive passengers, due to the concerns of many governments about the escalation of the severity and frequency of unruly behaviour on board aircraft.”