View Full Version : BA CitiExpress pilot cleared of raping air hostess

18th Mar 2003, 13:03
It isn't often the dreadful Sun has anything worth reading, so make the most of it. BA pilot cleared of rape

A BA pilot convicted of raping a stewardess during a hotel stopover in Oslo has been cleared on appeal — after turning detective.

Marcus Orr, 34, was accused of tricking his way into Tracey Buchanan’s room and assaulting the married hostess, also 34, in Norway last November.
A Norwegian judge sentenced him to 2½ years’ jail — but freed him pending his appeal.

The ex-cop then spent weeks analysing evidence — proving timings from electronic room keys were wrong.
Cabin crew were still in the air at the time the system showed they were in their rooms. His lawyer said: “They would have had to parachute out the plane to the hotel.”

Mr Orr’s fiancée Helena Oglaza — who also works for BA — said at their home in Handforth, Cheshire, yesterday: “I never doubted him for a moment.” He said: “Helena has been absolutely brilliant.”

BA said they would consider Mr Orr’s bid for his job back.
Tracey — who waived her right to anonymity after the trial — declined to comment.

BA said they would consider Mr Orr’s bid for his job back!!!

Consider??? :eek: :rolleyes:

18th Mar 2003, 14:06
Well you can't blame them for not making a public statement of it, can you?

18th Mar 2003, 14:19
The pilot lost his job when he was convicted. Why shouldn't BA say publicly that they are reinstating him now that he's been cleared by the appeal? Don't they owe it to him?

18th Mar 2003, 14:28
They would if he worked for us. When initially charged he was working for British Regional (BRAL) an independent company which only later became a subsidiary. Even now the crews at CitiExpress (as BRAL became) are not BA pilots. They wear a different uniform, are not on the BA seniority list or pay scales.

As to resuming his career, I wish him every success and would hope that CitiExpress will see a sensible way forward.........

18th Mar 2003, 15:44
I wonder if....

The lady involved will now be charged with wasting police time.

Sacked if convicted and/or disciplined for bringing the company and it's staff into disrepute.

Be required to pay the pilot damages for his ruined reputation/career/loss of earnings.


18th Mar 2003, 16:54
is there a job for him to come back to ?

18th Mar 2003, 18:23
This "lady" is not the first and certainly won't be the last to try and screw up somebody's life and career.

I know a pilot who was languishing in a French gaol when similar charges were dropped against him. He lost in job, his marriage and his kids, poor bastard. His accuser walked off happily into the sunset!!

Mr Orr, I hope you fair better than my mate. You have a good woman, sticking by you through thick and thin. I sincerely hope things work out for you.


18th Mar 2003, 18:30
I wonder if....

The lady involved will now be charged with wasting police time.

Sacked if convicted and/or disciplined for bringing the company and it's staff into disrepute.

Be required to pay the pilot damages for his ruined reputation/career/loss of earnings

remember he was convicted in the original court case.
That conviction doesn`t mean 100% he was guilty,nor does the fact he`s been released prove 100% his innocence.
just because a door card system was not accurate enough to prove when someone went into their room, doesn`t mean that all the logged times for that door card were wrong,but if there is doubt over the evidence relating to it then it can`t be used as proof.
Re: getting his job back. only the two people involved know what the truth is,to denegrate the person who brought this complaint is out of order.The law isn`t always right,sometimes the guilty go free,othertimes the innocent go to jail.

Hot Wings
18th Mar 2003, 19:40
Perhaps the Sun would care to comment on the alleged connection between Mr Orr (an ex-copper) and Mrs Buchanan's husband (a serving police officer). Apparently, both men served together until some undisclosed incident.

It has been suggested that the rape allegations were an attempt to settle an old score!

It would make a bad episode of Inspector Morse - if only people's reputations and careers weren't put at risk. I hope that Mr Orr gets re-hired and that he sues.

Flying Lawyer
18th Mar 2003, 20:41
manchesternews online Rape case pilot clears his name

AN airline pilot accused of rape turned detective to clear his name and end an 18-month ordeal.
A court in Norway convicted Marcus Orr of raping a stewardess in a hotel room during a flight stop-over in Oslo. A judge sentenced the Manchester Airport-based British Airways first officer to two-and-a-half years behind bars after a two-day trial in November. But sentence was suspended until the conclusion of an appeal - and now another jury at the appeal hearing has cleared him.

The 34-year-old, who was sacked, now wants his old job back and his former employers say they will consider any application from him. He also plans to marry the girlfriend who stood by him.

The appeal victory represents a personal triumph for the pilot, who believes he would have ended up unjustly imprisoned had he not embarked on a detailed inspection of the prosecution case after his conviction.

He examined files of evidence both at his home and at the offices of his solicitors. The former police constable destroyed a central plank of the prosecution case, according to his lawyer.


He showed how timings taken from the hotel key card system, used to "prove" when he returned to his room following the alleged rape, were unreliable.

He found a series of discrepancies, including one where cabin crew were still in the air between Manchester and Oslo at the time the key card system indicated they had walked into their hotel rooms, his defence team said.

"Those timings were critical. If he had not spotted that particular issue, it's quite possible he would be behind bars now."

Back at his home in Handforth with his fiancee Helena Oglaza, Mr Orr said: "If you want to see something done, do it yourself.

"I can't believe it. I don't think it's sunk in yet. I was looking at a long time in prison, probably three years according to my Norwegian lawyer, as they normally add a bit on for being cheeky and trying to appeal."

After he was sacked by BA, Mr Orr often worked seven days a week from 7am until late at night to compile his defence.
He said: "I was going through technical stuff from the original trial. It was based on the key card system which was the only objective evidence, but there were major discrepancies. The allegation was that the system showed my movements on a particular evening, yet it showed one cabin crew entering her room 10 minutes before we landed.

"The scary thing is that I have some legal background because I was a police officer. If I hadn't known how to put evidence together and have some insight into the legal system, albeit the UK system, it probably would have been a different outcome."

The woman who accused the pilot declined to comment after the appeal but made clear she would take the matter further.

and The allegation made against the former British Airways first officer and the 18 months he spent under suspicion has "put the fear of God" into both pilots and cabin crew, according to the British Airline Pilots' Association.
"Pilots, particularly in British Airways, when they are away from home live like hermits now," said Mick Brade, an official with BALPA, which has 8,000 members in the UK, half of them employed by BA.
"This has terrified them. Marcus is an unfortunate example. He has shown how vulnerable pilots are when they are away from home."
"Pilots used to meet up with their colleagues and socialise where the rules allowed. Now people are displaying more introversion, especially amongst pilots.
"This has driven home how vulnerable they are. People are capable of and do make the wildest accusations. . Things like this destroy careers."

He added that he would seek a meeting with Mr Orr's former employers.
"They sacked him without giving him a hearing so that he could explain himself to senior managers at BA, and he wasn't even allowed to appeal that decision," said Mr Brade.
"That was despicable. He has been to hell and back. I will be demanding his immediate re-instatement."


19th Mar 2003, 09:09
I fly with this guy and have seen him operating away from base/socially.Since this thing kicked off I have spoken to scores of other f/os in the company about this (many of whom have known him for years) and NOT ONE OF THEM believes he raped her.
Death and taxes are the only things certain in life and it is true that only those two will ever really know what went on - but consider this.If you have ever been on your own with a hosty this could have been you.How would you feel about someone putting forward your point of view (as if you hadn't been through enough over the last 18 months) when you were finally cleared?
Marcus has enough to worry about so why don't you wind your neck in a notch!

19th Mar 2003, 10:26
Looks like his Norwegian lawyer has a lot to answer for as well..Why did the defence not pick up that the prosecution evidence was flawed?

19th Mar 2003, 15:17
Just curious as to why DNA tests weren't done in the first place.

19th Mar 2003, 15:30
Unfortunately a woman doesn't have to PROVE that she was raped. Her word is taken as proof.
A man has to prove he didn't do the rape. His word is laughed at.

Everybody is equal to the law, but women are more equal.

19th Mar 2003, 16:22
Is the lady in question still with BACX?:mad:

19th Mar 2003, 16:56
LAF,my post was meant to reflect how none of us know for sure what went on that night,only the two people involved.Sometimes guilt is subjective,not objective.We can`t say 100% that the pilot was innocent and the hostie was trying to ruin his career with a unfounded charge,nor can we say 100% that he was guilty and she was the victim.My post was to show that pointing the finger in either direction is a dangerous game.

Flying Lawyer
19th Mar 2003, 18:53
I don't know what you mean by "Sometimes guilt is subjective, not objective."
As to the other matters you raise, the law and and good sense coincide to provide the only fair answer: A person is presumed to be innocent until he/she has been proved to be Guilty.
In your original post, you said "remember he was convicted in the original court case." No, we should not rememer that. It is irrelevant and a wholly unfair point to make. The pilot concerned was convicted on evidence which was later found to be unreliable. He appealed and was retried by a different jury, without the unreliable evidence, and was found Not Guilty.

It is not fair to suggest on a public forum that he was/might have been guilty although he was acquitted. I appreciate your concern for the reputation of the lady involved but, if someone has been acquitted, that is and should be, the end of the matter. Private opinions are one thing; airing those opinions on a public forum is quite another.

(BTW, I saw your earlier post before it was edited. It was clear that you are not a fan of the pilot concerned.)

19th Mar 2003, 19:26
I edited my post because of just that reason,that when I read it ,I realised that it suggested something that i didn`t intend.
my view of the law is a general one and not specifically for this case.It`s a simple fact -the law is not always right.Hence,a conviction is overturned.Not just in this case but many others.Also criminals do go free.the law is never 100% right in conviction or release.
again,I reiterate,in this particular case I DON`T know what happened in this case.My original post was objecting to the start of a character assassination of the cabin crew member,when none of those who weren`t there know what went on.

20th Mar 2003, 01:31
I'm sort of curious about this alleged assault. Since the first postings I have wondered about any physical evidence. Without going into the sordid details, it seems to me that a charge of rape ought to be supported by more than spoken evidence. If there is any, DNA ought to make it real simple - yes or no, Who cares about times of opening room doors?

It may not be very PC, but if a woman alleges rape, she must produce the evidence or shut up. There are many forms of evidence infering non-consenting sexual assault, were they produced?

Flying Lawyer
20th Mar 2003, 02:19
In this case, consent wasn't an issue. The pilot adamantly denied that sexual intercourse or anmy form of sexual activity took place at all. According to the press reports (see thread in the CC forum) the lady did a few more trips and didn't allege she'd been raped until some days later. That may be the explanation for the absence of any DNA evidence.

20th Mar 2003, 02:58
Convenient, wouldn't you say?

Flying Lawyer
20th Mar 2003, 03:45
Please don't misunderstand this - as far as I'm concerned the man has been acquitted by a jury after a retrial and that is the end of the matter. He must be presumed innocent; any other reaction is grossly unfair.

My answer to your question in general terms, not related to this particular case is: It might be, but not necessarily.
Some women who genuinely have been raped take some time to decide whether to make a complaint and go through a trial process.

Strontium Dog
20th Mar 2003, 07:42
Flying Lawyer,

What is the title of the thread in the CC forum?

I am struggling to find it, even with the help of the search facility.

Hope you can help.

SD :confused:

I know the pilot involved in this case and have discussed this case with him.

The newspaper report in the Manchester Evening News has an interesting line regarding his lawyer;

his solicitor, Peter Belshaw, who insisted the case would probably never have come to court in this country.


The reason for this is that there was no physical evidence, the only objective evidence was flawed to it's very core, and the case was built up from hearsay & conjecture.

Both Marcus & his accuser spent about 5-6 hours each under cross examination during the appeal.

Whislt Marcus' version of events remained consistent, due to the fact it was a true version of events.

His accusers version varied wildly from her original Police statements and again from her original testimony.

It was shown on several occassions that she had lied during the original trial regarding fundamental issues, such as how the pilot managed to get undressed, etc.

The Norwegian system allows hearsay into the court room & does not differentiate between evidence & circumstantial evidence.

This allowed a case to be built which relied on the testimony of this cabin crew member's close friends stating what she had told them and nothing more.

I'm sure you'll agree, this is a system that is wide open to abuse, hence why Peter Belshaw states that this trial would never have been heard in the UK for lack of evidence.

It's a sobering thought to consider that a life & a career can be destroyed so easily, with no supporting evidence.

SD :(

Flying Lawyer
20th Mar 2003, 11:40
Sorry! It's in Aircrew Notices, not CC.
Click Pilot convicted in Norway. (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?threadid=71876&referrerid=18293)

Strontium Dog
21st Mar 2003, 10:35
Thanks for that, I've seen that one.

I just thought I'd missed out on something.

21st Mar 2003, 13:37
In a common-law system, when a jury returns its verdict to a court, it gives its opinion as to whether it believes, on the evidence presented, whether the accused is 'guilty' or 'not guilty'. Not 'guilty' or 'innocent'. The difference is that the prosecution has to prove guilt. An accused may have committed the crime - but it is up to the prosecution to prove it. The accused's innocence is never in question, ie. the court is not trying to assess the accused's innocence, only their guilt - so the question is simple, to prove guilt ONLY.

As I said, this doubtless allows the odd crim to get off; however, it also puts the onus on the prosecution to be pretty sure they've got their man. Why is this a good thing? Well, it acts as some sort of defence against the truly innocent being banged up. Every year we hear of evidence coming to light which undermines prosecution cases - the most dramatic being capital cases where, sadly, the accused has already been dispatched. Whether one agrees or not with capital punishment is a separate issue, but the fact that an accused has been found guilty at first instance does not always 'prove' their guilt.

Some accusers have their own motives for doing so and whilst one can never condone any form of assault - especially rape - one must be equally careful to protect against false accusations which, history shows, do happen.

21st Mar 2003, 16:21
A word of advice to JPJ and anyone else who cares to suggest that our unfortunate colleague is not 100% innocent as cleared.

The laws of libel attach to this forum as anywhere else and it would be open to the individual concerned who is readily identifiable to sue anyone for damages for defamation if they suggest otherwise.

The fact that such a posting is hidden behind a nom de plume would be no defence..................

15th Apr 2003, 17:53
In the light of today's national newspaper coverage of this case I wonder if all those who contributed to the previous couple of threads on this issue are prepared to be a little more open minded about the case. As ever with newspaper coverage of court cases you really need to be in court to have a complete picture.

Notso Fantastic
15th Apr 2003, 20:37
I'm not sure exactly what you are getting at, my my understanding of the case seems to indicate that it is clouded in a lot of swirling mist! Are we to understand that the victim (the pilot) was an ex-policeman who worked at one time with another policeman colleague who is married or in a relationship with the rape accuser (the stewardess)? That some of the main evidence used to accuse the victim centred on key card records that were, subsequent to the Court's decision, found to be faulty- in fact so faulty they were nonsensical. I don't understand how a guilty verdict, even 'possibly' guilty, could possibly stand! Most peculiar of Norwegian Courts. If you have a new slant on this extremely suspicious case, please spill!

15th Apr 2003, 21:03
There is a new slant...but you'll just have to keep reading the papers.

Notso Fantastic
15th Apr 2003, 21:45
So rather than play Mr. Mysterious, why don't you let us in on what you think it's about? I don't buy newspapers.

Flying Lawyer
15th Apr 2003, 21:54
Can't help but wonder at the motives of someone who registers with PPRuNe (or re-registers under a different username) just to post this - and then behaves in such an odd way when asked for more details. :rolleyes:

I assume he/she is referring to this:

The pilot, who was cleared of raping an air stewardess, has been ordered to pay her more than £10,000 in compensation under Norwegian law.
The pilot successfully appealed against his conviction for raping the woman at an hotel in Norway. Despite being found not guilty by the appeal jury, three judges also considered whether the 34-year-old stewardess had a right to claim compensation. Because two of the judges ruled that he had “probably” raped the woman, he has been ordered to pay her 124,000 kroner (£10,800).
In Norwegian compensation proceedings, judges merely have to find that the accused was “probably” guilty.
The pilot, who has always maintained his innocence, said yesterday: “This is unbelievable. She won’t receive a penny until this is resolved. The majority believed my account of what happened. I am outraged by the decision and do not believe that justice has been done.”

The stewardess said: “Justice, I suppose, has been done in a strange sort of way. I want all the facts printed.”

Jorun Dahlberg, the acquitted pilot’s lawyer, said : “We will now take this to the Supreme Court and the Court of Human Rights. It will take time.”

Notso Fantastic
15th Apr 2003, 22:27
I finally found that reference in the Times and it wasn't very startling. Cloudy references from Dearsley about mysterious previous cases are not awfully reliable. Hands up all Pprune members who haven't taken a hand a bit too far on a night out and maybe pushed their luck a bit too far. It's funny when you see references to "Miss X was in Mr. Y's room at 2.30am when the incident took place" as in Mike Tyson and whatsername- ladies don't go to heavyweight boxers rooms in the middle of the night on their own and not expect their abdominal regions to get a good exercising. So I really think it is unfair to make veiled references to 'previous' when cases are pending- do they apply or not? Are they evidence or not? Look at that poor TV guy with the very active and adventurous sex life. Suddenly someone decides to get a bit of publicity off the back of it and poof! Out of the closet pour 30 'victims' who apparently willingly underwent an energetic workout to have a 'famous one', and months later scream 'rape'.
So please, no more cloudy references to other cases after the event. The poor man has struggled to clear his name. There are very suspicious circumstances to the stewardesses claims. She says she wants all the 'facts' out- well she won't mind her name coming out will she? So either put up solid evidence or leave it alone!

16th Apr 2003, 01:25
In England and Wales the standard of proof required to convict in a criminal case is 'beyond reasonable doubt'.

However, in civil cases the standard to determine for the plaintiff or the defendant is based on the 'balance of probablities', which does not demand such a high level of proof as 'beyond reasonable doubt'.

It sounds to me that the system in Norway is not too dissimilar from our own.

I have no knowledge of and make no comment whatever on the current case.

Flying Lawyer
16th Apr 2003, 16:04

Whilst you are correct that the standard of proof required in criminal and civil courts is different, that is where the similarity ends.
We do not have the Norwegian procedure described in the press reports.

16th Apr 2003, 19:38
Flying Lawyer,

I have no doubt that you are correct that the actual procedures in Norway are not the same as ours, although how accurate press reports are is always open to doubt.

I was making a general point that in England and Wales (probably in Scotland as well, though I am not as familiar with their legal system) it is possible for someone to be acquitted of a criminal offence, but later to be ordered by a civil court to pay damages to the aggrieved/injured person following a civil action based on the same evidence but requiring a lesser standard of proof.

Notso Fantastic
16th Apr 2003, 21:10
Am I right in thinking this is more successfully applied in the US (as in OJ Simpson acquitted, but subsequently privately sued and ordered to pay millions) than in the UK where this doesn't seem to be a feature so much, probably because, unless you are blatently wealthy, it is easy to simply not pay and go bankrupt having disposed of your assets and leave the plaintiff to pick up both sets of legal fees?

16th Apr 2003, 21:48

eff.org (http://www.eff.org/IP/Video/DeCSS_prosecutions/Johansen_DeCSS_case/20030109_johansen_decision.html)

17th Apr 2003, 02:58

Yes, it is not common here for civil actions to follow a criminal acquittal, although not unknown by any means.

Notso Fantastic
17th Apr 2003, 03:10
What IS common is for wildly threatened legal action! I believe both parties are threatening legal action. I expect they will soon find how much such actions cost, and it will all die down. The way this thread started, I thought there was some startling new news. But it was just inuendo. So shall we let it all just die? I don't think this is the right time or place for a great discussion on 'are the laws on rape accusations and qualifications for anonymity fair?'. Let's just let it die a death until something positive happens.

Flying Lawyer
17th Apr 2003, 08:17
Merchant Venturer

"(In the UK) ......... it is possible for someone to be acquitted of a criminal offence, but later to be ordered by a civil court to pay damages to the aggrieved/injured person following a civil action based on the same evidence but requiring a lesser standard of proof."

Yes, that is possible, but it is not "based on the same evidence."
You suggested that "the system in Norway is not too dissimilar from our own." With respect, you're missing a crucial difference:
A claim for damages (compensation) would have to be brought as separate proceedings in a civil court. The civil court would hear evidence from witnesses on both sides and reach its decision on the evidence given in the civil case, not on the evidence which had been given on an earlier occasion in the criminal trial. ie It is a completely new hearing at which both parties give evidence to the court and are cross-examined.
Unless the Times report is inaccurate, the Norwegian procedure is very different: The three Judges who decided the compensation claim didn't hear evidence themselves, but decided the case by reviewing the evidence given in the criminal trial and decided, after reviewing that evidence whether the acquitted man was probably guilty. In this case, they decided by a majority of 2:1 that he probably was, and orderd him to pay compensation.

The crucial difference between the two procedures is that, in Norway, the judges who decided he was probably guilty did so without hearing evidence from either the woman or the man she accused. Bizarre - but apparently true.

"until something positive happens."
I'm afraid it has happened. Unless the acquitted pilot successfully appeals the decision, he will have to pay compensation.

17th Apr 2003, 09:17
Makes me glad that among many other gifts, you limeys left us with a fair facsimile of your legal system, however twisted it may have become over here.

(Too obvious an olive branch after all of this war mess? ;) )

17th Apr 2003, 17:58
Why is it that the Sun suddenly becomes the Gospel on this story when tabloid journalists are branded as filth at other times?

18th Apr 2003, 01:17
Flying Lawyer,

"I was making a general point that in England and Wales (probably in Scotland as well, though I am not as familiar with their legal system) it is possible for someone to be acquitted of a criminal offence, but later to be ordered by a civil court to pay damages to the aggrieved/injured person following a civil action based on the same evidence but requiring a lesser standard of proof."

I think we are in danger of being bogged down in semantics.

I realise that my post may have given the impression that a civil court in England/Wales merely reviews the criminal case evidence and then makes its decision based on the balance of probabilities test. Of course this is not so.

The witnesses give evidence again before the civil court and their evidence is tested again by cross examination. But, unless witnesses have lied in the criminal case, their evidence before the civil court will, in essence, be the same as that given at the criminal trial.

I have already conceded that the system in Norway is different to our own. However, both systems arrive at a situation whereby a person may be acquitted at a criminal trial but, at a later date, may be ordered to pay compensation.

18th Apr 2003, 02:01
Some of the people responding here know this guy well ; we have seen him after a few too many beers (following groundschool)and believe that he did not rape this woman.We do get feedback from the court as there are several current cabin crew members very close to all this.We choose to use our judgement (and the fact that there was no physical evidence) rather than rely on the popular press.Ask yourself how many times you have read something you know about in the papers ; then how many times they made mistakes.Chances are the latter will exceed the former.