WA man sentenced over indecent assaults on NSW flight

A West Australian man has received a suspended jail term after pleading guilty to five offences relating to the assault of two women on a domestic flight to Sydney in July (2022).

The man, 47, was sentenced to 15-months suspended imprisonment and a $2100 fine in Sydney’s Downing Centre Court this week (22 November 2022). He had earlier admitted to the offences against a fellow passenger and a crew member on the flight from Perth.

In two separate incidents, the man groped a woman seated next to him on the plane. He also groped a female flight attendant and assaulted her twice.

Both the passenger and the flight attendant confronted the man, who appeared intoxicated, about his behaviour and crew moved the female passenger to another seat.

Flight crew alerted AFP officers, who met the plane upon arrival at Sydney Airport, escorted the man from the plane and questioned him. He was later charged with five offences.

AFP Detective Superintendent Morgen Blunden said there was no excuse for offensive and intimidating behaviour anywhere, but unwanted attention could be particularly distressing on a flight, where people were confined in a limited space.

“This case should serve as a warning to people that illegal behaviour in the air will be prosecuted on the ground,” Det-Supt Blunden said.

“There is no excuse for these actions on an aircraft or anywhere else – everyone is entitled to be free from harassment, unwanted attention or indecent acts.”

The man was sentenced to 15-month suspended terms of imprisonment for each of the three counts of do an act of indecency without consent on an aircraft, contrary to section 15(1) of the Crimes (Aviation) Act 1991 (Cth).

He was sentenced to 12-month suspended terms of imprisonment for each of the two counts of assault, threaten or intimidate crew of an aircraft, contrary to section 20a(1) of the Crimes (Aviation) Act 1991 (Cth).

The court ordered the five sentences to be served concurrently and also fined him $2100.

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