A woman pleaded guilty in court after riding an airport conveyor belt to rescue her dog.
A woman pleaded guilty in court after riding an airport conveyor belt to rescue her dog. Peter Carruthers

Gladstone woman rides airport conveyor belt to rescue her dog

THERE'S nothing this Gladstone woman wouldn't do for her dog, including taking a short ride on the Gladstone Airport's conveyor belt to retrieve her furry friend.

Ellen McWilliam pleaded guilty in the Gladstone Magistrates Court to one charge of entering a security zone of a security controlled area without permission.

Commonwealth legislation permits that the act of doing so can go two ways; a $5000 fine or in the event of 'extenuating circumstances', be discharged of the offence and be let off on a good behaviour bond.

Defence Lawyer Jun Pepito explained that his client had organised a flight from Brisbane to Gladstone including the transport of her 15-year-old dog.

Mr Pepito said upon arriving in Gladstone she walked to the conveyor belt where she waited for the cage holding her beloved pooch to come around.

After waiting for about 10 minutes, she began to hear her dog howling, as if to be in pain, Mr Pepito said.

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He said his client immediately approached staff and asked how long it would take for her dog to be pushed through.

Mr Pepito said staff told her to wait another five minutes.

After waiting those five extra minutes, all the while listening to her dog calling for her, McWilliam took matters into her own hands.

She climbed aboard the conveyor belt and crawled through the large leather flaps separating the entrance from the restricted zone.

She saw her dog in the cage and pulled the pet through, crawling back through the flaps and onto the belt.

She then took herself, her dog and the rest of her luggage home.

Mr Pepito said his client did not realise she had committed an offence, and was surprised to hear from police weeks later regarding the matter.

He said his client's dog was quite old, and was both deaf and blind.

The court heard McWilliam had no criminal history.

Gladstone magistrate Melanie Ho said given the dog's age and condition, she would mark the offence to have been committed under 'extenuating circumstances'.

McWilliam was placed on a one year good behaviour bond and was warned by the Magistrate that entering restricted security zones is usually a very serious offence.



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