Adam Leon walks into court in Thunder Bay Wednesday.
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THUNDER BAY -- Adam Leon’s lawyer says his client has already been punished for his crime.
A Confederation College aviation student in 2009, Leon stole a plane from the school’s facility at the Thunder Bay airport and flew it into US airspace before coming down in Missouri.
He was convicted there and sentenced to two years in prison for illegally entering the United States and interstate transportation of a stolen aircraft.
Leon was in a Thunder Bay courtroom Wednesday facing a charge for theft over $5,000.
During submissions, his lawyer Neil McCartney argued autrefois convict, which is similar to double jeopardy.
The Missouri court started with the foundation that Leon had stolen the airplane in its decision to convict him.
While it could have named the United States itself as the victim for the cost and time it took for fighter jets and Missouri police to get involved in Leon’s case, it instead stated that Confederation College was the victim McCartney said.
The incident made international headlines on April 6, 2009 and was covered live on major news networks including CNN.
Two F-16 jet fighter jets followed Leon's plane as he continued his seven-hour trek through the states.
The FBI and Missouri State Highway Patrol said Leon told them he was trying to commit suicide, hoping the U.S. fighter jets would shoot him down.
“He was the thief. That was the essential part of the case they presented,” McCartney told the court.
With the exception of some circumstances, common law generally assumes that a person possessing stolen goods has also stolen it if it’s the same continuous act. “
But the Crown’s Trevor Jukes argued that one of the reasons the US court didn’t charge Leon with theft is because they didn’t have jurisdiction and were more concerned with transportation across borders and state lines.
“It was about dealing with the sovereignty of their borders,” he told the court.
Jukes said they became separate acts once the border was crossed. The case was adjourned to Dec. 5.
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