POLITICS

Nova Scotia court hears explicit testimony in 'Mile High Club' case

01/21/2015 03:53 EST | Updated 03/23/2015 05:59 EDT
HALIFAX - A flight attendant told the trial of a woman accused of committing an indecent act on a Toronto-to-Halifax flight that she and a man used a coat to cover their laps to fondle each other.

The trial for 25-year-old Alicia Elizabeth Lander got underway Wednesday at Dartmouth provincial court.

Lander has pleaded not guilty to committing indecent acts, assaulting a police officer, committing an act of mischief and causing a disturbance at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport last Jan. 24.

John Dunn, who was service director for Air Canada Flight 610, testified for the Crown that Lander had asked if she could change seats to sit with her friend after boarding the plane in Toronto.

Dunn said about an hour into the flight, a passenger had told him the people sitting in 14A and 14B were about to join the "Mile High Club."

He testified that he approached Lander and the man and found them with a jacket over their laps but said he could tell what was happening underneath.

He said he could see Lander's thighs and pink thong.

"Her pants were down around her ankles," said Dunn. "I said, 'I want you to stop this now. It's inappropriate.'"

Dunn said Lander's hand was in the area of the man's crotch making an up-and-down motion.

He said he asked Lander to get dressed and she eventually pulled up her pants, although she initially denied not being clothed.

Dunn said Lander was then asked to go back to the seat she was originally assigned in row 26, where she slept for the remainder of the flight.

He said he notified the captain of the incident, who arranged to have RCMP officers meet them at the gate.

Jason George Chase, 39, was also charged with committing an indecent act in connection with the same incident and had originally pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea to guilty on Wednesday.

Chase's lawyer says he will seek a conditional discharge and his case has been adjourned until March 27.

It's not clear whether Lander and Chase knew each other prior to the incident.

Dunn said after landing, Lander became combative when he was telling police what happened onboard, calling him a liar.

RCMP Const. Mac Routliffe, one of the responding officers, testified that Lander was being disruptive after meeting officers at the arrivals gate.

Routliffe said he warned her to be quiet or she would be charged with causing a disturbance.

"She was being very vulgar, cursing," said Routliffe.

Routliffe said Lander did not settle down, so she was arrested. He said initially she said "go ahead" and put her hands behind her back to be cuffed.

But while being escorted through the Halifax airport to an RCMP office in the basement, she became irate, said Routliffe.

"At one point she lunged at me as if to bite me," said Routliffe.

Routliffe said Lander kicked him twice, although the second kick was a "glancing blow." He said she also kicked a sliding glass door off its tracks.

He said Lander was put into an interview room and he and another officer had to hold the door shut to contain her. He said she ended up putting a few holes in the walls of the room, causing more than $400 in damage.

Lander stared directly at all the witnesses who took the stand Wednesday, often groaning and shaking her head as they spoke. At one point Judge Timothy Gabriel told her: "Keep your mouth shut while the witness is testifying."

Lander's lawyer Laura McCarthy said she will call her client to testify when the trial continues March 3.

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