Korean Air Heiress Appeals ‘Nut Rage’ Conviction

kpride, April 2, 2015, 9:37 a.m.

Korean Air heiress Cho Hyun-ah, who was sentenced to a year behind bars for violating aviation safety in a fit of "nut rage" in December last year, appeared Wednesday at her first appellate hearing.

She pleaded guilty to charges of violence leading to obstruction of aviation safety and intimidating the purser but denied changing the planned route of a flight. "Cho admits her act of violence and asks for the victims' forgiveness," her lawyer said. "But it's not fair to say she obstructed aviation safety or changed the route of the flight." 

Her lawyers claimed that taxiing toward the runway should not be considered as part of a flight's route, which is not clearly defined in aviation law.  Cho asked the appeals court to consider the fact that she has taken responsibility for the incident. Her lawyer said she had already suffered greatly during her three months in a jail.

Clad in a green prison uniform and wearing black horn-rimmed glasses, the heiress kept her head bowed during the hour-long hearing. When prosecutors called for a heavier punishment for Cho, who they said abused her authority as an executive of Korea's largest carrier, the heiress glanced at them briefly. 

Given a chance to comment, Cho said, "I ask for the victims' forgiveness. I am deeply sorry for what I did." Her lawyer said Cho suffered from insomnia during her time in jail and misses her one-year-old twin sons.  Earlier this year, a lower court found her guilty of forcing a passenger plane to change course. 


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