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Dutch woman gets jail time for flight incident

Happy Valley-Goose Bay courthouse
Happy Valley-Goose Bay courthouse - Evan Careen

After serving remaining time Canadian government will foot the bill to return the 21-year-old to the Netherlands

HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, N.L. — A 21-year-old woman from the Netherlands will be spending a few more weeks in jail after disrupting an Air Canada flight from Toronto to Amsterdam on July 7.

Elke Van De Voort faced three charges, mischief exceeding $1,000 and two counts of unlawfully engaging in behaviour that endangers safety by interfering with duty of the crew.

Using an interpreter, Van De Voort pleaded guilty to the charges on Thursday, July 12 and was sentenced to 21 days in jail; minus six days she has already served. She will get credit for nine days, using the one and a half formula for pre-sentence custody, leaving her to serve an additional 12 days.

Van De Voort was also ordered to pay $3,474 as restitution to Air Canada for the flight disruptions and associated costs. Prosecutor Don Singleton said in his experience the fine was extremely low and that Van De Voort was lucky.

“The flight terminated in Amsterdam so there were no missed flights, no hotel costs,” he said. “Normally I see a range of $25,000 to $35,000.”

Singleton told the court Van De Voort had disrupted the flight for about two hours. She was seen drinking alcohol she had brought with her on the plane and drank more on the flight. When flight attendants declined to serve her more alcohol she became upset, refusing to return to her seat.

Singleton said Van De Voort told staff she would sit back down if she could get it in writing they would serve her more alcohol. The flight was then diverted to Happy Valley-Goose Bay where the young woman was arrested.

Singleton said while most of these cases go by way of fine, Van De Voort was unemployed and didn’t have the resources to pay a large fine. Therefore, he was in favour of the 21-day sentence.

Judge Wynne Anne Trahey ordered Van de Voort to serve the time, after which she will be flown back to the Netherlands at the expense of the Canadian government.

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