SYDNEY - A BOGUS aircraft engineer accused of putting thousands of Qantas passengers' lives at risk was jailed for more than three years by an Australian court on Wednesday.
Timothy McCormack forged his qualifications and posed as a licensed aircraft engineer for nearly nine months, checking planes leaving Sydney Airport, before being exposed in July 2007, the court heard.
The 27-year-old, described by his defence lawyer as a pathological liar, pleaded guilty - and then faked four character references for the court as it considered his sentence.
Prosecutor Paul McGuire told the New South Wales district court McCormack became entangled in a web of deceit that could have had 'catastrophic' consequences for Qantas passengers flying out of Sydney.
'The potential that arose because an unqualified and failed engineer was carrying out significant work to major systems on an international aircraft directly put at risk the lives of 12,000 people,' he said.
Judge Mark Marien noted that McCormack, as a supervising engineer, had been checking the work of other junior engineers working on passenger planes.
'Not only was the degree of the offender's course of conduct extreme, but the offender conceded that the potential consequences of that course of conduct might have been catastrophic,' the judge said.
He sentenced McCormack to three years and five months in prison. -- AFP