The Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan has avoided a prison sentence after being found guilty of an air rage incident following a transatlantic flight.
O’Riordan was instead ordered to pay about $6,600 to the court “poor box” on Wednesday after pleading guilty to head-butting and spitting at an Irish police officer.
The judge said he spared the mother of three a prison sentence as she was suffering from a “severe mental illness” at the time of the incident at Shannon airport in her native Ireland in November 2014.
However, he also noted that she was guilty of “serious assaults” and “appalling behavior” during the incident.
The court in county Clare heard that after she was arrested for causing a disturbance on a flight from JFK in New York to Shannon, O’Riordan had shouted at police: “You can’t arrest me. I’m an icon, I’m the queen of Limerick [her home town]. You don’t know who you are dealing with. I pay my taxes so I pay your wages and I am going to sue.”
During the Aer Lingus flight, O’Riordan, 44, had become aggressive and stomped on the foot of a female flight attendant.
Airport police officers were notified and she was removed from the aircraft after it landed.
As she was being taken to a police station in a patrol car, the singer escaped from the vehicle.
A police officer apprehended O’Riordan at which time she turned around and headbutted him before spitting in his face.
The singer had alleged that one of the officers had groped her and sexually assaulted her during the arrest.
However, her lawyers later acknowledged in court that there was no substance to these allegations.
A number of medical reports were given to the judge during the trial stating that the singer was suffering from hypomania, paranoia and sleep deprivation at the time of the incident.
Delivering his judgment, Judge Patrick Durcan said it would be unfair to impose a criminal conviction on the singer.
“Let me be utterly clear that the defendant is not being treated any differently than anyone else,” he said.
Speaking outside the court today, a softly spoken O’Riordan said she was relieved at the verdict.
“I don’t really have much to say. I’m glad it’s over and I want to thank the doctors who helped me to get back my health mentally.
“I’m feeling very good today, very positive about this upcoming year. I have a couple of albums coming out and I’m going to go back to work.”
O’Riordan, had separated from her husband of twenty years and the father of her children, Don Burton, in the months before her arrest.
A handful of fans turned up at the court in Ennis to show support for the singer.