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Australian man pleads guilty to Fiji flight disturbance, punching passenger in body and face

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The man said he ingested substances before boarding the flight, and doesn't fully recall what happened.

The man said he ingested substances before boarding the flight, and doesn't fully recall what happened.  (iStock)

A passenger whose behavior prompted the diversion of a Fiji Airways flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu has pleaded guilty to interfering with flight attendants and crew members.

Nathan Young pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday, saying he took some substances before boarding the planned direct flight last month to Nadi International Airport in Fiji, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported .

The 24-year-old Australian man swore at people on the airplane, threatened to kill passengers, banged on the aircraft's walls, charged a flight attendant assigned to sit next to him, and punched another passenger on his body and face, Assistant U.S. Attorney Margaret Nammar said.

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Young told Judge Leslie Kobayashi that the substances he took mixed up his memory but he accepts responsibility for his actions.

The judge then recited the events of flight 811, repeating the language he used, and asked Young if he agreed with the account.

Young said he didn't remember but didn't dispute the record.

Kobayashi told him, "If you don't agree with it, go to trial." Young agreed and entered his plea.

Prosecutors agreed not to charge Young with assault on the passenger in exchange for his guilty plea to interfering with the crew.

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District Judge Leslie Kobayashi scheduled his sentencing for October, but noted it could occur sooner if her concern over restitution is resolved.

Following the completion of the sentence, Young will either leave the country voluntarily or be deported, the judge said.

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