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2 Canadian women get plea deal in Honolulu airport assault case

By Gregg K. Kakesako

LAST UPDATED: 2:55 a.m. HST, Aug 28, 2013

Two Canadian women Tuesday agreed to fines and lesser penalties following a confrontation with state deputy sheriffs at Honolulu Airport in May.

Rachel Francis, 20, of Surrey, British Columbia, was charged with second-degree assault after an incident May 2 in which she got into a confrontation with two deputy sheriffs at Honolulu Airport while being questioned about her conduct aboard an Allegiant Air flight from Washington state.

Through a plea by mail deal worked out the Honolulu prosecutors’s office, Rachel Francis agreed to pay a fine of $250 and have the charged reduced to a third-degree assault charge. She also requested that the misdemeanor conviction be wiped from her record if she commits no crimes during the next six months.

Her sister, Mary Francis, tried to intervene when her sister was being questioned by authorities and was charged with obstruction of government operations.

Mary Francis, through her attorney Daniel Kawamoto, agreed to a $50 fine and have her charge reduced to disorderly conduct, which is a violation.

The two sisters had been facing misdemeanor charges carrying a maximum jail term of one year.

District Court Judge Leslie Hayashi agreed to the plea bargain deals for the two sisters during a hearing, which neither sister attended.

After the hearing Kawamoto said the two women were “happy to get this behind them.”

“It was an unfortunate incident.”

The incident occurred May 2 at Honolulu Airport's Gate 17 at 8:20 p.m. after the airport duty manager requested sheriff deputies to investigate a report of disruption on the plane.

When the plane reached the gate the pilot asked that Francis and her sister, Mary Francis be removed and questioned because they had been belligerent with flight attendants and disruptive to passengers during the flight.

While the two deputies were interviewing the two women, Rachel Francis allegedly assaulted a deputy sheriff.

At a District Court appearance in May, Kawamoto told Leslie Hayashi that they are "good people," pointing out that Rachel Francis won a competition among 350 people to be the face of an anti-bullying campaign in Surrey.

They were allowed to leave Hawaii after each posting $100 bond.

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