SA plane groper spared jail

2011-11-29 12:22

A South African woman who admitted to being drunk on a plane and groping a male air steward was spared jail after a London court was told of her battle against alcoholism.

The Cape Times reported that Katherine Goldberg (25) was on a Virgin Atlantic flight from Joburg to London when she drank nearly 500ml of whisky and then made “strong sexual advances” to the man, grabbing his groin.

Last month, the woman, who is a teacher, pleaded guilty to sexual assault and being drunk on an aircraft following the August flight, but magistrates decided the case was too serious to be dealt with in a lower court.

As part of her sentencing, she was fined £1 500 (R19 500) for being drunk on an aircraft and handed an 11-month community order, to be supervised by the probation service, for the sexual assault.

In addition, she is to pay costs and do 80 hours’ unpaid work.

Prosecutor James O’Connell said her behaviour had been progressively worse during the course of the overnight flight.

He said: “When it became apparent that she was under the influence of alcohol, a member of the cabin crew moved her to the galley area and supervised her in his care.

“However, her antics changed to a more sexual nature, making suggestions to him. She then sat on his lap and grabbed hold of his genitalia through his trousers.”

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