See “Police called after Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus fails to turn off his phone on Qantas flight”, by Stephen Drill:
Qantas staff felt obliged to contact Australian Federal Police after Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus—who was determined to check his emails—refused to turn off his smart phone during take-off on a Sydney to Brisbane flight last week. After he ignored pre-recorded warnings about turning off all electrical equipment, a fellow passenger complained to Mr Dreyfus. His failure to follow standard safety instructions angered the passenger and a Qantas crew member, who both told him to turn off his mobile phone immediately.
Moments later a flight attendant admonished the former barrister, later reporting the situation to the captain. The airline took the incident so seriously it alerted the AFP, with officers asked to meet the plane and the Attorney-General at its destination.
Mr Dreyfus confirmed yesterday he had been told to turn off his phone and said he had apologised to those on board at the time. A spokeswoman said: “The Attorney-General regrets the incident and apologised to the passenger and to airport security.”
Well, that makes it all right, then.
“The AFP has been advised of an alleged incident on board a flight from Sydney to Brisbane on 23 April, 2013,” a police statement said.
“The incident involved a passenger failing to comply with the directions of crew.”
Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association secretary Steve Purvinas said yesterday Mr Dreyfus’ mobile phone could have interfered with navigation systems.
Mr Purvinas said mobile phones were banned during take-off because they could affect radio altimeters.
“The radio altimeters tell the aircraft systems what height it is at,” he said.
“If the aircraft is driving towards 30,000 feet but it thinks its already at 40,000 feet then it would tend to want to decrease altitude.
“That’s not what you like to happen just after take-off.”
The Attorney-General won’t be charged because he apologised, and fair enough—what do you want, blood? People who do find themselves in court, however, might consider trying the Attorney-General’s defence:
UPDATE (4 May): an appropriate song for our special Attorney-General, perhaps, is “I’m Special”, by the Mucous Membranes:Court Officer: Defendant, how do you plead? “Guilty” or “Not guilty”?
Defendant: Not guilty!
Judge: Hang on a tick, did I hear you say “not guilty”? I see that the evidence against you for these heinous crimes—murder, rape, kidnapping, arson, not to mention mocking the Government and even, horresco referens, opposing same-sex marriage—is comprehensive and uncontested; furthermore, I see that you actually admitted that you were guilty to the police, to the media, and on your Facebook page. Are you sure you wish to plead “not guilty”?
Defendant: Yes, Your Honour; you see, I immediately apologised. I regret what I did, and said so at the time.
Judge: Well, in that case, I dismiss all charges; you’re free to go.