Nova Scotia

Air Canada sex act case ends in convictions for Alicia Lander

A woman accused of committing a sexual act on an Air Canada plane that subsequently landed at the Halifax airport has been convicted of all four charges against her.

Woman convicted of 4 charges related to indecent act aboard Halifax-bound plane in January 2014

Alicia Elizabeth Lander and Jason George Chase are alleged to have participated in an indecent act in a public place on Jan. 24, 2014.

A woman accused of committing a sexual act on an Air Canada plane that subsequently landed at the Halifax airport has been convicted of all four charges against her.

A judge found Alicia Elizabeth Lander, 26, guilty of committing an indecent act in public, causing a disturbance, assaulting a police officer and mischief to property. She had pleaded not guilty to all four charges.

She is due back in court July 14 to be sentenced.

Alicia Lander arrives at court Wednesday wearing a hoodie. She's accused of committing a sexual act on an Air Canada plane last year. (CBC)

Lander and Jason George Chase, 39, who are both from the Halifax area, participated in an indecent act aboard the plane on Jan. 24, 2014.

During her testimony today, Lander said she didn't remember what happened until she read the court's disclosure. 

"I have no memory of the plane really at all," she said.

No memory not a defence

However, Judge Timothy Gabriel said he didn't believe Lander, calling her behaviour "self-indulgent" and "off the wall."

Outside court, Crown attorney Cheryl Byard said it's not a defence.

"As the judge indicated in his decision …, he found, based on the evidence, that she intended to commit the act. The fact that she didn't remember is insignificant. She was drinking, she remembers exactly what she had to drink, but no memory of anything else other than that."

Byard said the Crown will likely not seek jail time but said, "This all probably could have been avoided."

"The RCMP have to speak for themselves, but if she had only co-operated and spoken to them, she might not be here today. Essentially, the judge said it was her actions that caused the other things to happen. It snowballed, and here she is with four charges against her that she was found guilty of."

"She wanted to have her day in court," said Byard. "She had it. Judge didn't believe her. He wasn't left with reasonable doubt. He believed the five witnesses that testified.

"The public has the right to travel on an aircraft and not put up with this type of behaviour and not have to go to the airport and deal with people screaming and yelling and assaulting police officers when they're just doing their jobs — and the same with people on the aircraft."

In court, Lander testified: "I feel ashamed …. It's not my character."

Chase due in court later for sentencing

Chase pleaded guilty in January of this year to committing an indecent act in a public place. He is scheduled to return at a later date for sentencing. He is asking for a conditional discharge.

Lander's trial began with some graphic testimony earlier this year.

Air Canada flight service director John Dunn testified 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 the pair because they had indicated they wanted to become members of the "mile high club."

He said he 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.

The incident was reported to the captain, who arranged to have police meet the plane.

Another Air Canada employee testified Lander was belligerent as police tried to question her at Halifax Stanfield International Airport once the flight landed.

CBC's Catharine Tunney has been live blogging from court.


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