QLD pilot accused of passenger manslaughter makes sovereign citizen claim, court hears


A Queensland pilot accused of killing a passenger in a light plane crash has been revealed as a self-proclaimed sovereign citizen.

Peter McDougall, 66, was last week charged with the manslaughter of an 83-year-old man on Ball Bay Beach, north of Mackay, on Christmas Eve in 2021.

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McDougall was also charged with one count each of flying an aircraft without a licence and carrying out maintenance and flying without satisfying safety requirements.

McDougall fronted Mackay Magistrates Court on Wednesday to apply for bail.

Police prosecutors opposed bail on the grounds McDougall’s assertion of sovereign citizenship means he does not recognise Queensland laws.

However, bail was granted on the condition he does not operate an aircraft.

A pilot has been charged with manslaughter over a light plane crash that killed a man in north Queensland in 2021. Credit: 7NEWS

The passenger, a grandfather from the Mackay region, was killed in the crash that occurred only minutes after take-off, police have said.

The plane was experiencing engine trouble and McDougall had tried to land it, police said.

“Police will … allege that he was not authorised to fly that aeroplane and that the aeroplane should not have flown that day,” Detective Senior Sergeant Chis Eaton said last week.

McDougall’s arrest followed a 14-month investigation by the Mackay Criminal Investigation Branch and Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

Sovereign citizenship is generally characterised as a movement whereby participants assert that laws to not apply to them.

– With Mikayla Fanto

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