Air Canada sex act case heard in Dartmouth court
Jason George Chase pleads guilty, Alicia Elizabeth Lander's trial starts after 2014 arrest in Halifax
One of two people accused of committing a sex act on an Air Canada plane that landed at the Halifax airport has pleaded guilty to committing an indecent act.
The trial for the other began with some graphic testimony.
Court records say Jason George Chase, 39, and Alicia Elizabeth Lander, 25, are alleged to have participated in an indecent act in a public place on Jan. 24, 2014.
Last year, both pleaded not guilty.
However, on Wednesday, Chase changed his plea to guilty. He's scheduled to appear back in court on March 27 for sentencing and is asking for a conditional discharge.
Lander's lawyer, Laura McCarthy, said the guilty plea will not affect her client's ability to get a fair hearing. She admits the case is unusual.
"The circumstances are unique. I would say the charge isn't necessarily unique," she said. "People are charged with forms of indecent exposure not necessarily regularly but often enough. So I wouldn't say it's a completely unique charge in that people aren't charged with it, the circumstances are unique."
The trial for Lander went ahead, with court hearing from two Mounties and three Air Canada employees.
The first witness was an Air Canada employee who identified Lander and testified she was belligerent the night of the incident as police tried to question her at Halifax Stanfield International Airport once the flight from Toronto arrived.
The employee said Lander's cursing was vulgar and made people in the arrival area uncomfortable.
RCMP Const. James Curran testified he was one of the responding Mounties on Jan. 24 and could smell liquor on Lander's breath.
He said he warned Lander to keep her voice down or she would be charged with creating a disturbance.
Kicked holes in wall
Curran said that as Mounties were escorting her through the airport, Lander kicked a sliding glass door and knocked it off its track. The kicking continued, according to Curran. He said Lander started mule kicking and hit an officer.
After being dragged into an interview room at the airport, Curran said Lander kicked holes in the wall.
Also testifying was Air Canada flight service director John Dunn, who said the woman asked if she could sit next to her friend at the start of the flight.
Dunn said another passenger warned flight attendants to watch them because they wanted to become members of the "mile high club."
Dunn said he went to the seat and found the woman with her pants pulled down and the man's hand in her lap. He said the man was penetrating her. Dunn said he told the woman it was inappropriate and ordered her to get dressed.
He said he could see her thong and told the woman to put her breasts back in her bra.
It was at that time Dunn said he separated the pair and the woman slept the rest of the flight.
The incident was reported to the captain, who arranged to have police meet the plane.
Dunn said his concern was for some children who were a few rows back from where Lander was sitting. His testimony ended by saying it appeared Lander was fondling Chase under a coat on his lap, but he couldn't be sure.
After a short recess, Lander's lawyer, Laura McCarthy, said her client wanted to testify, but there was no time on Wednesday.
"She's just going to give her version of events from what she recalls. That's all I can really say about her evidence. I have to let her have her opportunity to give it first," she said.
The case will conclude March 3.