Banker's flight riot

New York (Reuter) - An investment banker charged with assaulting a flight attendant and defecating on a service cart during a flight was sentenced yesterday to two years' probation and ordered not to drink on aeroplanes.

Gerard Finneran, 59, president of TCW Americas Development Inc, was ordered by a US magistrate to refrain from "excessive use of alcohol" and undergo counselling.

"The last seven months has been very difficult for my family and me," Mr Finneran told the court. "I promise your honour, you will never hear of me doing anything like this again."

The magistrate said that because of the publicity in the case, Mr Finneran had already "suffered a great deal of humiliation and embarrassment."

With his family present in court, Mr Finneran he had an alcohol problem. Outside court, his lawyer said that during the flight Mr Finneran had "uncontrollable diarrhoea and that what happened on the plane was an accident".

The magistrate ordered Mr Finneran to perform 300 hours of community service. He has already made a $50,000 (pounds 34,000) restitution to the airline for cleaning costs and to passengers seeking a refund.