‘I’ll smash you up’: Air crew, passengers in fear

A "VERY aggressive" Brisbane FIFO worker accused of threatening to "smash" crew and hunt down passengers, including a mother and her baby, during a flight to Brisbane is serving a suspended sentence for assault and was carrying a screwdriver in his bag, a court has heard.

Simon O'Bongo, 31, an electrician from Bald Hills, was in Brisbane Magistrates Court this morning where he applied for bail on seven charges related to the alleged drunken threats on a Virgin flight from Sydney on Saturday night.

The charges include assaulting crew, offensive and disorderly conduct on an aircraft, bringing a prohibited item on board, affray and obstructing a Commonwealth official.

Commonwealth prosecutor Sinead Butler told the court O'Bongo was drunk on the flight, and carrying a screwdriver in his backpack, when he lost his cool at the prospect of paying $5 for a pair of headphones and being refused alcohol.

"Give me a Corona (beer) or I am going to do something I will regret," he is alleged to have threatened.

He threw his headphones at an air hostess's back as she pushed the trolley past, the court heard.

"I am really pissed off and I am going to do something f***ing stupid," O'Bongo is alleged to have told the flight crew.

O'Bongo, who allegedly smelled strongly of alcohol when he boarded the flight, is also alleged to have told a young woman and her baby sitting nearby: "You have a baby and you want to get involved in this, do you?"

He allegedly made the comment after overhearing her say she had taken a photo of him to identify him, the court heard.

O'Bongo then stood up and photographed the woman with her baby sitting on her lap, Ms Butler told the court.

"Now I know what you look like," he allegedly told her.

Ms Butler told the court: "She felt frightened by (O'Bongo's) threats, and she advised police she was very worried."

He is also alleged to have pointed to an off duty Virgin crew member, saying, "I've got your name, I can find you and come and get you," after they told O'Bongo his behaviour was unacceptable.

Another passenger was allegedly told, "I can take photos too, I can come and find you, you better watch out," while O'Bongo allegedly told another who tried to intervene, "Don't get involved or I'll f*** you up too."

He refused to put his seatbelt on when the flight was preparing for landing, and became aggressive when passengers started disembarking, Ms Butler said.

"He barged his way through the passengers," she said.

He allegedly told a crew member: "Bitch get out of my way... I have to get off I'm trying to live the life," and a flight supervisor, "How many police are coming? What am I going down for?" and "Come on, let's settle this man-to-man."

When an Australian Federal Police officer came to arrest him he is alleged to have said, "P*** off you little bitch."

Police allege that after he was arrested he continued to scream menacingly at crew members who were hiding from him, and yelled, "I will smash you up."

After he was taken back to the police watchhouse, a search of his backpack found he had a screwdriver, which is banned on planes.

O'Bongo's lawyer Brendan Beavon from Russo Lawyers told the court that his client did not know he had the screwdriver in his bag, and it was part of his toolkit as an electrician.

Mr Beavon told the court there were no allegations O'Bongo had been physically violent to police, crew or other passengers.

He submitted O'Bongo was unlikely to be jailed if ultimately convicted of the alleged crimes because his actions were not overly serious and his behaviour on the plane was out of character.

O'Bongo had been commuting to and from Sydney by plane for work for six years, taking hundreds of flights, and had never behaved this way before, Mr Beavon argued.

O'Bongo was willing to submit to a around-the-clock curfew if released on bail, as he risked losing his job and defaulting on the mortgage of a Woolowin property if he was remanded in custody.

Mr Beavon told the court that O'Bongo was hoping to be released so he could spend Christmas with his family and young nephews and cousins at Dakabin.

Ms Butler told the court that O'Bongo had been sentenced to a short prison term in August when he was convicted of assault, obstructing police and making a public nuisance.

Ms Butler submitted that O'Bongo had a "lengthy criminal history".

The decision on bail is due to be made later today.



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