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Aviation Crimes and Policing Legislation Amendment Bill 2010 [2011]

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2010

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

SENATE

 

 

 

 

AVIATION CRIMES AND POLICING LEGISLATION

AMENDMENT BILL 2010

 

 

 

 

ADDENDUM TO THE EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Hon Brendan O’Connor,

Minister for Home Affairs and Justice)



 

Insert the following text after paragraph 18 at Item 7:

The intimidation aspect of this offence is directed to capture behaviour that is intended to cause fear or distress and which has that effect on a crew member.  For example, an incident where a person becomes very aggressive, angry, is gesticulating and out of their seat or otherwise using their physical presence with the intention and in a way that creates fear or apprehension in a crew member could be captured by this offence.  This kind of behaviour can be highly disruptive and can have serious consequences, such as causing flights to be cancelled or delayed.  

That type of behaviour can be distinguished from actions where a person is expressing their frustration or concern, even in an agitated way, where the person has no intention of intimidating a crew member.  For example, it is not intended that a person voicing a complaint about their seating or some other aspect of the flight would fall within this offence, even if that person voices their complaint in a loud or rude manner. 

The maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment for the offence is directed at deterring and punishing a worst case offence including the case of a repeat offence.  The court retains the discretion to impose a penalty appropriate in the circumstances of a particular case.

Whether an incident is investigated by the Australian Federal Police (AFP), and in turn prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) will depend on the nature of the act.  If an incident is trivial, the AFP is able to exercise the discretion not to pursue the matter.  Further, the CDPP will consider whether the public interest requires a prosecution to be pursued, which includes consideration of the seriousness or triviality of the alleged offence.  If the matter is prosecuted and the person convicted, the court is able to take into account a wide range of circumstances in determining the appropriate sentence.  This would include the seriousness of the conduct and the circumstances surrounding the offence.  Even if the maximum penalty for an offence is a term of imprisonment, a court can impose no penalty, a fine only or a suspended sentence.