30-Sep-2010 10:39 AM

Australia introduces tougher penalties for aviation-related crime

Australia's Government introduced (29-Sep-2010) legislation to Parliament to create tougher penalties for aviation-related crimes. Under the Bill, maximum penalties for aviation-related crimes will increase and such crimes will fall within four categories:

  • Ten years' jail for hoax offences such as calling an airline and saying a bomb is on a plane or threatening to bomb an airport, which currently carries a two-year maximum jail term;
  • 14 years' jail for offences against aircraft or aviation environments, such as damaging a runway or air traffic control facilities at a major airport, which currently carries maximum jail terms of seven or 10 years;
  • 20 years' jail for very serious offences that pose danger or cause harm to groups of people, such as assaulting a pilot or endangering an aircraft while in flight. These offences currently carry maximum jail terms of seven, 14 or 15 years;
  • Life in jail would continue to apply to offences such as hijacking or destroying an aircraft and being reckless as to causing death.

 Three new offences are also proposed:

  • Assault of an aircraft crew member - a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment;
  • Reckless endangerment of an aircraft, where danger of serious harm or death can be shown - a maximum penalty of 14 years;
  • Having dangerous goods onboard an aircraft, where there is a risk of serious harm or death - a maximum penalty of 14 years. [more]