Da 75 år gamle Paul Griffith ble bedt om ta av seg skoene i sikkerhetssjekken på Stansted flyplass, kom han med en slengbemerkning som gjorde sikkerhetsvakten så opprørt at han ringte politiet.
– Men jeg er ikke muslim, er jeg?, sa Griffith – og ble arrestert, tatt fingeravtrykk og DNA-prøve av og ventet i seks måneder på en tiltale for rasisme før britiske påtalemyndigheter droppet saken:
Paul Griffith, 75, pictured, set off the security scanner’s alarm at Stansted airport when travelling to Malaga for a week’s holiday.
He removed his shoes as requested, but said: ‘I am not Muslim am I?’
A security guard accused him of racism and called the police, saying he was upset by the remark.
‘One minute I am queuing up to get on a plane and the next I am confronted by two armed policemen.
‘They said I had used racist language and took me to an office in the terminal,’ Mr Griffith said yesterday.
Griffith fikk lov til å dra videre på ferie, men ved retur ble han umiddelbart tatt inn til avhør, arrestert og fortalt at han ville bli siktet:
‘I was photographed, had my finger prints taken and they also took a DNA swab from my mouth. ‘Then they said I would have to go to my local police station.
When I went to Colchester police station I was told I had been charged with an offence under the Crime and Disorder Act but that I could accept a caution instead.
‘I refused to do that – I had done nothing wrong and I wasn’t going to admit to a criminal charge if I wasn’t guilty of any crime.’
The CPS failed to substantiate claims by airport staff at Stansted (pictured) that Mr Griffith’s comment was threatening or abusive
Months later he appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court where he pleaded not guilty to the offence.
The case was adjourned to last Thursday, but with just 24 hours before appearing, the Crown Prosecution Service suddenly dropped the charge due to lack of evidence.