A Dunedin woman who bit an Air New Zealand flight attendant
on the hand and kicked another in the testicles during a
drunken rampage on an international flight last August has
been ordered to have drug and alcohol counselling.
Tara Anne MacKay, also known as Tara Anne Laidler (28), now
of Dunedin, appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday
and admitted assaulting Susan Lawson-Hurst with intent to
injure her on August 17 last year.
Two other charges arising from the same incident - a Crimes
Act assault on a male and disorderly behaviour likely to
cause violence - were withdrawn because of lack of
Judge Dominic Flatley said the defendant's behaviour would
have been ''extremely frightening'' for other passengers, as
well as causing difficulties for flight crew who had other
responsibilities. He said it was unclear why she behaved as
she did, other than the fact she had drunk far too much
On her return to New Zealand, MacKay admitted biting Ms
Lawson-Hurst, although she could not recall kicking a male
She said she would have calmed down had cabin staff left her
alone but she agreed she should not have drunk so much
alcohol on the flight.
She was sentenced yesterday to 300 hours' community work and
12 months' supervision, with drug and alcohol counselling and
therapeutic interventions and other counselling as directed.
MacKay and her partner had both been drinking on the
Bali-bound flight and the defendant was intoxicated, the
police facts summary said.
She began yelling and swearing loudly, repeatedly spilling
her drink. Her behaviour made a nearby passenger feel so
threatened she fled from her seat and reported the matter to
They asked MacKay to calm down and to come to the back of the
plane to speak to them.
But she threw her drink at the female staff member and tried
to push past the crew to return to her seat. She refused to
comply with their instructions and a struggle developed,
after which she locked herself in a toilet and refused to
The captain authorised the crew to unlock the toilet door.
They physically removed the defendant but she resisted.
Cabin attendants restrained her and secured her in handcuffs
and a leg restraint.
MacKay bit cabin crew member Ms Lawson-Hurst hard on the
The victim tried unsuccessfully to break free from the bite
by hitting the defendant on the back of the head.
But MacKay bit her twice more before she was able to free
The defendant then kicked one of the male cabin crew forcibly
in the testicles.
As a result of being bitten, Ms Lawson-Hurst had a swollen
and bruised hand, with a suspected hairline fracture.