New Zealand

Drunk flyer’s antics end with $2k fine. He touched attendant, eye-balled a cop, and refused to wear seatbelt

Christopher Campbell had an eventful flight back from Brisbane, but the flight crew remembered more of it than he did.

ROBERT KITCHIN/STUFF

Christopher Campbell had an eventful flight back from Brisbane, but the flight crew remembered more of it than he did.

Christopher Campbell was already in a state when he boarded the flight from Brisbane to Wellington.

His brother had just died and he had been drinking even before he shoved his boarding pass at the face of a flight attendant, just below eye level.

By the time of the safety briefing he was talking loudly and made a grab at a flight attendant’s whistle.

It was on a Virgin flight from Brisbane that Christopher Campbell caused problems. (File photo)

PATRICK SCALA/FAIRFAX MEDIA

It was on a Virgin flight from Brisbane that Christopher Campbell caused problems. (File photo)

While dinner was served Campbell, 48, of Karori, Wellington, was talking loudly, pulling on the seat in front of him and clapping his hands.

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A judge in the Wellington District Court said on Wednesday that when Campbell signalled a crew member over he did not ask for anything, but he touched her bottom as she walked away.

The cabin crew supervisor gave him a talking to and he apologised for causing any distress.

But on a trip to the bathroom he approached the attendant and apologised for his behaviour, but then he tried to hug her, which she rebuffed.

When a flight attendant was collecting rubbish with a service cart Campbell was in the aisle and held the corners of the cart, staring intensely at her.

She stood up after talking to a passenger and he shoved the trolley into her about five times, hitting her in the stomach, and pushing the cart over her toes.

He stopped when told, but the attendant was shaken, in tears and had a sore stomach.

The Captain was told and he arranged for police to meet the plane in Wellington.

Campbell was given another talking to by the cabin crew supervisor, and an off duty police officer on the flight offered to sit beside Campbell but even that didn’t stop the disruptive and disorderly behaviour.

He flicked water at the officer and “eye-balled” him.

Campbell refused to put on his seat belt on for landing, and said a flight attendant would have to put it on for him, although he did eventually comply when he was told the plane would not land until he put on his seatbelt.

Judge Jan Kelly said Campbell’s behaviour disrupted service on the flight. The crew supervisor who had been working in business class had to manage the rest of the crew to keep them safe and the captain left the flight deck to check on the crew.

According to a summary given to the court, Campbell told CAA investigators he did not remember some of the flight. He was a recovering alcoholic and did not usually drink any more.

Campbell pleaded guilty to breaching Civil Aviation rules on a Virgin Australia flight back from Brisbane on July 9, 2018, by behaving in a way that interfered with a crew member’s duties.

Campbell had been drinking before and during the flight and accepted he was intoxicated, the court was told

Judge Jan Kelly said she had been told that Campbell had been in Australia to see his brother who was terminally ill. His brother died and Campbell stayed on to help his brother’s family who included a four-year-old boy with Downs Syndrome.

Campbell had other convictions for disorderly behaviour and drink-driving, including one in 2012 with a very high level, the judge said.

Campbell’s lawyer, Carrie Parkin, offered letters of apology from Campbell to be given to the victims.

The judge fined him $2000, after he received the full discount for pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity. The maximum penalty for the charge was a fine of $5000.


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