RIM executives caught drunk on a plane

Two high-ranking employees at Research in Motion forced a China-bound flight to be diverted to Vancouver where they were forced off the plane and charged with criminal conduct.

George Campbell and Paul Wilson both filed guilty pleas to one count of “mischief” under Canadian law.

The Air Canada flight, which left from Toronto, Canada and was heading to Beijing, was ultimately delayed 18 hours because of the two drunk passengers.

Neither will have to face jail time but each was sentenced to one year probation and a fine of around $35,382.

According to an e-mail from Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokesperson Sherrdean Turley, quoted by the New York Times, the two RIM employees “were intoxicated and weren’t listening to anything they were told to do/asked to do by the airline crew.”

The Times also cited an unnamed source as saying the plane was already well en route to Beijing when the two passengers became unruly, but the flight crew decided to turn around and head back to Canada because of concerns of issues they may have faced if they landed the plane in China or elsewhere.

Both men were seated in the executive class section of the plane and were part of Air Canada’s elite frequent flier tier.

Of course, this is not a pleasant story for RIM, which has been fighting a losing battle to earn back its good standing in the media. The company said it has “suspended” the employees and is launching its own investigation into the matter.