What would you do if you were sexually assaulted on a plane? It’s not something many of us would have considered as we boarded our last overseas flight, but as Mamamia found out, it is worth knowing your rights. As with most international affairs, things can get complicated.
To learn what country’s authority investigates when someone is assaulted on an international flight, we spoke to aviation law expert Rowan Kimber, who tells Mamamia that there were four factors at play.
How the crime will be investigated will depend on: the country of origin, the destination, in which country the airline is based and when the assault is reported.
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“You’ve got multiple different laws that come in to play. Whichever country the aircraft is registered to, their rules generally apply,” Kimber, who is also a pilot, says.
“For instance, Australia’s criminal code states that the criminal code will apply in each: Australia, or Australia’s territory, or an Australian registered ship or an Australian registered aircraft. Most jurisdictions have the same thing.
“If you’re on a Qantas aircraft, it doesn’t matter where it is throughout its journey, the Australian federal law will apply.”
However, Kimber adds that where the assault is reported can still be a crucial factor, as the country of departure or arrival’s local laws still might apply – depending on what stage of the journey you are at.