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Woman tries to leave plane mid-flight

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Woman tries to leave plane mid-flight

Old 21st Nov 2005, 05:12
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Woman tries to leave plane mid-flight

Woman tries to leave plane mid-flight

By Rosemary Desmond

November 21, 2005

A DRUNKEN French tourist with a fear of flying tried to open an Australia-bound jet passenger door in mid-flight to have a cigarette, a Brisbane court has heard.

Sadrine Helene Sellies, 34, was placed on a good behaviour bond after pleading guilty in the Brisbane Magistrates Court today to endangering the safety of an aircraft.

The court was told Sellies was on a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to Brisbane on Saturday when the incident occurred.

She was seen walking towards one of the aircraft's emergency exits with an unlit cigarette and a lighter in her hand and began tampering with the door.

But a flight attendant intervened and took Sellies back to her seat.

Sellies was watched closely until the plane landed in Brisbane, where it was met by Australian Federal Police and she was arrested and charged.

Defence lawyer Helen Shilton told the court Sellies had been terrified of flying and had taken sleeping tablets and alcohol before takeoff.

She had no memory of what had happened on the flight and also had a history of sleepwalking, Ms Shilton said.

Ms Shilton said Sellies, who did not speak in court and was aided by a translator, probably would have escaped prosecution were it not for concerns about terrorism.

But Magistrate Gordon Dean warned Sellies she must behave appropriately when travelling on an aircraft.

"You must understand if you are on a plane you must behave yourself ... otherwise," he said.

The conviction was recorded against Sellies and she was placed on a $1000 good behaviour bond for 12 months.

Sellies, accompanied by her husband, would not comment to waiting media outside court.

The couple is on a three-week holiday in Australia.
CaptainToBe is offline  
Old 21st Nov 2005, 05:26
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Ms Shilton probably would have escaped prosecution were it not for concerns about terrorism.
So what on earth does Terrorism have to do with this? Nothing.

Was anyones safety ever in jeopardy. No.

Even the magistrates are complicit in the fear mongering.
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Old 21st Nov 2005, 06:58
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Thought the article was about Helen Clark for a minute there...
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Old 21st Nov 2005, 07:24
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Thought the article was about Helen Clark for a minute there...
Nah, if that were the case they would have helped her out
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Old 21st Nov 2005, 07:26
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...if it was the devil reincarnate (aka Helen) only a fool would have stopped her turning that handle!
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Old 21st Nov 2005, 07:32
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Was anyones safety ever in jeopardy. No.
Even the magistrates are complicit in the fear mongering.
With all due respect, I disagree with your point. Whilst you and I know that she could not have opened the door midflight, the rest of the passenger cabin did not know this and there is untold potential for mayhem in the cabin with someone attempting to 'open' a door. I have little tolerance for any form of behaviour in the pax cabin that endangers, or could be interpereted as endangering the safety of the aircraft and its occupants.

I am pleased to see a magistrate who is willing to prosecute, even if its on a somewhat irrelevant basis - terrorism is not really the point here - there are surely more relevant points to the safety of this flight and its pax that could have been used in the judgement.
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Old 21st Nov 2005, 07:36
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But I thought the smoking section was on the wing?

Why the hell did I go out and spend a fortune on a wind-proof lighter then?

Confused TBT
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Old 21st Nov 2005, 08:13
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Sinala1,

I accept your point of view.

However, bearing in mind this was a criminal offence, where was the real intent?

It would seem reading between the lines this was a case of diminished responsibility.

If the magistrate was swayed by the 'T' word, using the 'response expected of the community' excuse, I would be dismayed - at the magistrates measure of our community

Discretion would seem to be the missing element.
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Old 21st Nov 2005, 09:42
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Thumbs down Take responsibility for your own actions

However, bearing in mind this was a criminal offence, where was the real intent?
The intent was that she was seen tampering with an emergency door with a cancer stick and lighter in her hand.

It would seem reading between the lines this was a case of diminished responsibility.
Well, the magistrate did not see it that way, nor should he have. What sort of idiot would take a combination of sleeping tablets and alcohol, unless they had a suicide wish? Plenty of people use the excuse of 'not remembering' when hauled before the courts when trying to use alcohol as a defence. At least the magistrate felt that she should take responsibility for her own actions, which is about time the courts started to display this view.

Sinala1, I'm all the way with you I assume you are a F/A and I do not think that you or any of your pax should have to tolerate this type of behaviour.
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Old 21st Nov 2005, 11:44
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Away...!

Even if she had gotten out, she would've had to have walked to a safe distance away before lighting up!

520.
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Old 21st Nov 2005, 12:50
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Jenna
What sort of idiot would take a combination of sleeping tablets and alcohol
Many people with a fear of flying do just that. Mrs C rarely boards an aeroplane without some sort of chemical stimulation, usually a valium or two and a stiff scotch or two, or three.

She doesn't have a death wish, just an irrational fear of flying.
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Old 21st Nov 2005, 22:40
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Jenna Talia you are correct, I am an F/A, thanks for your support!

I am aware that part of our job entails dealing with people who are nervous fliers, and often people seek to deter that nervousness via a combination of sleeping pills/alcohol/assorted medications etc. Unfortunately, this combination can occasionally turn an otherwise rational person into someone who has the potential to endanger themselves, the a/c, the crew, or the pax around them. Obviously from a crew point of view this needs to be dealt with swiftly but appropriately - as the CX crew apparently did in this instance.

With no disrespect to anyone who suffers from a fear of flying, I still agree that the magistrate made the correct decision, but again I reiterate that I don't believe terrorism should have been mentioned in the judgement, as it was not relevant to the case.

That said though, I am no legal expert and am not attempting to sound like one!
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Old 23rd Nov 2005, 01:05
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Jenna, With respect, dimished responsibility is a little more complicated by that. I accept willing disabling one's sense of reason by consuming alcohol and a sedative would not of themselves be conclusive. Of more interest is the sleep walking.

Sleep walking can be a genuine basis for an automatism "defence" - it would require careful medical assessment to determine whether that was the case. I can not help but think that no normal person (and there is nothing I;ve read that suggest this woman was not normal) would try to open a door in flight to have a cigarette unless she was temporarily not thinking logically.

I know of two people, both of whom are normal people, who have very complex sleep walking regimes. They have both engaged in complex and bizarre behaviour when sleeping - one walked but naked down a flight of stairs and started making a ham cheese and tomoato sandwich until he was directed back to his bed. People do have these conditions, and F/A need to be aware that people can do things when they are asleep that they would not do when they are awake.

My 4 cents worth - I guess an automatism defence was not presented the learned magistrate. They are quite rare and I doubt many magistrates have considered them.
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Old 23rd Nov 2005, 02:58
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I have a fear of jumping of high cliffs - so I don't do it!!


Ducking as he leaves.
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Old 24th Nov 2005, 04:47
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I guess an automatism defence was not presented the learned magistrate. They are quite rare and I doubt many magistrates have considered them.
Call me cynical but if diminished responsibility and automatism was accepted then they would not be rare any longer and every second person would claim the defence!

Thankfully here in NZ diminished responsibility is not a defence.
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