Drunken Qantas Passenger Fined $2,500
15th Jun 2015
A drunken passenger who groped a woman's breast on Qantas plane flying to Perth from Chile has been fined 2,500 Australian dollars. Fortunately for the offender, though, he has avoided jail.
The passenger, Milinda Gunasekera, 33-years-old, was flying back to Perth from a vacation in Chile. While he was changing flights in Auckland, he thought it was a good idea to down a whole bottle of vodka in one of the airport's toilet. When he finally boarded the Qantas plane, he reached to grab the woman sitting in front of him on the breast.
The man sitting next to Gunasekera naturally found his behavior disgusting and objected to it. This only prompted the drunken man to hurl a series of insults at his sober neighbor. Finally, Gunasekera was escorted out of the plane and arrested by waiting police officers.
At Gunasekera's hearing, Judge Moses of the Manukau District Court in New Zealand said:
"You pushed your arm through the gap in the seat, grabbed her breast and squeezed it."
He contused to reprimand Gunasekera:
"Members of the public traveling on planes have a legitimate expectation that they can do so without being groped or abused like these victims were by you."
Gunasekera's defense did not argue that he was drunk and said he had no recollection of the events in the plane. He also said he was 'really, really embarrassed by what he did'.
For the Mr. Gunasekera, paying AUS$2,500 certainly sound a lot better than the first possibility - a maximum jail sentence of 7 years for an indecent assault and threatening to kill another.
Instead, the Crown law has reviewed his case and change the charges to common and assault, as well as intimidating behavior.
On a positive note, Gunasekera has started attending a rehab program (paid by himself) and has not drunk since the incident.