Senator's wife pleads guilty to causing disturbance on plane
Published Thursday, September 20, 2012 12:05PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 20, 2012 5:00PM EDT
The legal storm surrounding a senator’s young wife appears to be subsiding after she pleaded guilty Thursday to causing a disturbance on a plane.
A more serious charge of uttering threats was dropped during the court appearance.
Maygan Sensenberger, 23, appeared in a Saskatoon court on Thursday to enter her plea, and received a one-year suspended sentence with probation. Her husband, 69-year-old Sen. Rod Zimmer, was also in court.
Sensenberger was originally charged with the much more serious charge of endangering the safety of an aircraft, an offence which can carry a maximum life sentence, however that charge was reduced in an earlier appearance.
The charges stemmed from an incident aboard an Air Canada flight at the end of August. Zimmer began to complain of tightness in his chest, and the couple allegedly began to argue about the seriousness of his condition.
Zimmer is a throat cancer survivor.
According to some witnesses, the argument escalated to the point that Sensenberger threatened to slit Zimmer’s throat and to bring down the plane. However, other witnesses have said Sensenberger appeared upset because she was concerned about her husband’s health.
The Crown earlier told the court that every threat made on an airplane must be taken seriously.
"One never knows how serious these threats are," prosecutor Matt Miazga told a judge at an earlier court appearance.
However, Sensenberger’s lawyers argued Zimmer never felt threatened by his wife.
"They are very close ... and this is a very difficult time for them," lawyer Leslie Sullivan said at a previous court appearance.
Sensenberger was arrested in Saskatoon after the plane, which had originated in Halifax with a stop in Ottawa, touched down.
She was originally banned from speaking with her husband, but the courts later altered that stipulation, allowing them to have contact by phone or online.