TV host Colleen Walsh posts online apology for assaulting passenger, but faults victim for causing the whole thing

Rosie Mullaley rmullaley@thetelegram.com
Published on January 26, 2010
Colleen Walsh

She did what the judge ordered, but in the end, Colleen Walsh still blamed the man she assaulted.

The Toronto-based TV host - who was charged in an air rage incident aboard a transatlantic flight headed to St. John's last spring - was found guilty last week of failing to comply with instructions of a crew member and assaulting another passenger, Stan Harrington.

She did what the judge ordered, but in the end, Colleen Walsh still blamed the man she assaulted.

The Toronto-based TV host - who was charged in an air rage incident aboard a transatlantic flight headed to St. John's last spring - was found guilty last week of failing to comply with instructions of a crew member and assaulting another passenger, Stan Harrington.

As part of her sentencing, Walsh was ordered to post an apology to Harrington on an Internet blog, on which she had made insulting comments to him.

"If I am accused of this ridiculous charge, he will be known as the wimp who was beat up by a girl on an airplane," Walsh stated in a Jan. 1 post, which is still posted on the site.

"But I suspect Stan Harrington is such a weak man that he probably has been beaten up by girls."

During her three-day trial at provincial court in St. John's, Walsh said she had made the statements after months of suffering, and added she takes full responsibility for her actions.

However, in her apology - posted Monday morning on theoriginalgreenwichdiva.com site - Walsh was also quick to point the finger at Harrington.

While she said "sorry" for posting the insulting comments, she went on to say, "but you should look at the comments made about me on all the other websites ...."

"So Mr. Harrington, I apologize that your children or grandchildren might have had to read those comments, but you should try to understand what my family has had to endure with the comments made about me.

"Mr. Harrington, had you not made such a big deal about the situation, none of this would ever have occurred."

Her post was originally on the site Monday morning, but was taken down just hours later.

It was only reposted after The Telegram inquired to the webmaster about its disappearance.

Walsh was arrested at St. John's International Airport March 31 after an incident onboard an Air Canada flight, which left London en route to Toronto.

The Boeing 767 had to be diverted to St. John's when a female passenger became ill.

During the flight, Walsh reportedly became unruly.

Flight crew members said she looked intoxicated, was shouting and cursing and also struck Harrington, a passenger on the flight, in the head. It resulted in Walsh having to be escorted off the plane when it landed in St. John's.

During her trial, Walsh denied being disorderly and said she had merely touched Harrington gently, as a therapeutic touch, to try and "defuse" the situation.

Harrington testified the hit was forceful and caused his head to move to the left.

In sentencing, Judge Greg Brown fined Walsh $2,400. She was also ordered to pay a $60 victim surcharge and was placed on a year's probation.

When asked about Walsh's online apology, federal Crown prosecutor Mark Stares opted not to comment. Provincial Crown prosecutor Wendy Zedebiak is out of the office until next week.

rgillingham@thetelegram.com