Supervision for problem passenger who spat

August 28, 2017 | By More

Unruly passenger Kiri Marsh has been put on intensive supervision for her drunken antics on an Air New Zealand flight from Auckland which included spitting on a flight attendant.

Christchurch District Court Judge Emma Smith described the incident as “an extraordinary piece of behaviour”.

“It was a distressing assault because no-one knows what might be transmitted within that bodily fluid,” said the judge.

Marsh, 32, of St Albans, had admitted a charge of assaulting the woman flight attendant during the May 24 flight.

Police said she had become “increasingly abusive, obstructive, and intimidating towards fellow passengers and crew members” during the flight.

She appeared to be becoming increasingly drunk having consumed an unknown liquid from a drink bottle.

Police said she approached a woman crew member and said, “I’m gonna smash your face.”

She spat in the victim’s face, with the spittle landing on her cheek close to her mouth.

“Three or four male passengers stood up and created a physical barrier between Marsh and the victim,” police said when Marsh pleaded guilty in June.

Marsh failed to take her seat as instructed, and failed to fasten her seat belt. She has been issued an Unruly Passenger Infringement Notice for failing to comply with crew instructions.

Defence counsel Rachel Wood said Marsh was remorseful and embarrassed. She had written a letter of apology to the victim who lived in Auckland and did not wish to take part in a restorative justice meeting.

Ms Wood said: “This (behaviour) is out of character but the drinking is not. She is a chronic alcoholic and she has taken appropriate steps to deal with that.” Marsh planned to enter a residential treatment programme.

Judge Smith said Marsh needed to deal with her “affliction” as an alcoholic.

“Intensive supervision requires significant oversight and co-operation, for rehabilitation. If you don’t comply with this sentence, I anticipate Community Probation will want you re-sentenced, which is likely to involve some kind of imprisonment or detention.”

She would not give Marsh a term of community work “because you turn up drink and you can’t do it.”

The best outcome was intensive supervision for a year, she said, also ordering Marsh to pay $500 to the flight attendant as emotional harm reparations.

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