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Alleged hoaxer has plane obsession: court

AAP logoAAP 16/12/2016 Melissa Iaria

An ex-baggage handler accused of making hoax transmissions that caused a Virgin flight to abort its landing is a bright young man with an obsession with aircraft, a court has heard.

Paul Sant, 19, of Rockbank, is charged over 16 hoax radio transmissions to aircraft and air traffic control between September 5 and November 3.

He has been in custody since November 21, and his defence told his bail hearing on Friday that if released he should receive ongoing counselling.

However, the Melbourne Magistrates Court heard that if Sant is bailed, the youth justice court advice service is not in a position to supervise him.

"It's quite a unique situation. I don't think youth justice is in the position to reduce any risk of reoffending," youth justice worker Gene Bell told magistrate Jelena Popovic.

The court heard Sant, who is autistic, is a smart young man with an obsession for aircraft.

If bailed, his parents would find it difficult to live with him due to his "behavioural issues".

Ms Popovic was concerned Sant would lack monitoring if released.

"This young man, with proper bail conditions, ought to be released, but there's just inadequate supervision," she said.

Sant is charged with one count of interference likely to endanger safety or cause loss or damage and four counts of endangering the safety of aircraft, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years' jail.

On October 27, he allegedly made a transmission to a Virgin flight making its final approach, telling it to "go around".

The pilot aborted the landing procedure.

The teen is said to have given direct instructions to two flights, advising them to either turn around or abort their landing.

He made Mayday transmissions on the national distress frequency claiming flights had, or were at risk of, crashing into the Maribyrnong river, police allege.

Australian Federal Police have opposed bail, saying the teen posed a real risk of endangering other aircraft and human life.

Commonwealth prosecutor Kathy Piechutowska said the case was unique, as the offences Sant faces have never been tried before.

She said if bailed, Sant should be banned from using any device capable of radio transmissions or frequencies and not be allowed within 2000 metres of Melbourne Airport.

Sant was remanded in custody until his hearing continues on December 22.

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