Sentence of Sri Lankan jailed for bomb hoax on plane reduced

Sentence of Sri Lankan jailed for bomb hoax on plane reduced

November 8, 2019   01:14 pm


A Sri Lankan man who threatened to blow up a Malaysia Airlines plane with 222 people on board has had his sentence slashed after it was argued he was seriously ‘psychiatrically unwell’.

Manodh Marks, the first person in Australia to be jailed for attempting to take control of an aircraft, could be on his way home to Sri Lanka in just two-and-a-half years after the Court of Appeal granted his bid for a reduced sentence.

Instead of the 12 years maximum and nine-year non-parole period handed down, Marks received a reduced eight year maximum sentence.

He has already served half of the new five-year non-parole period.

Marks will be deported to Colombo when his release is granted. His lawyer Paul Smallwood told the appeal court he was already on his way home when the incident occurred in May 2017.

He had only been released from a psychiatric facility a short time before he boarded the flight.

Within 15 minutes of take-off he went to the Airbus’ cockpit door, holding a device with blue flashing lights in his hand and threatened he would ‘blow the f***ing plane up’.

He had used ice between his release from the facility and boarding the flight to Kuala Lumpur, a decision Mr Smallwood described as ill-advised.

‘This is a man who was very, very psychiatrically unwell,’ Mr Smallwood said during the appeal hearing.

The device turned out to be a bluetooth speaker.

Prosecutors said the fact the device was not a real bomb did not obliterate his moral culpability, but it was lower than if the bomb had been real.

‘They are terrorised exactly as if it was a real bomb,’ Justice SImon Whelan said in agreement.

The plane landed within 15 minutes, but it took 40 minutes for security to arrive and passengers had to remain on board for nearly 90 minutes after.

Source: AAP


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