Thorbjorn Olesen was 'not in control of his body' during alleged assault, says lawyer

Thorbjorn Olesen

Thorbjorn Olesen was not in control of his body when he touched a woman's breast during a transatlantic flight, a court has been told.

Ryder Cup winner Olesen is currently on trial at London’s Aldersgate House Nightingale Court where he has denied charges of sexual assault, assault by beating and being drunk on an aircraft during a British Airways flight from Nashville to London Heathrow in July 2019.

Witness allege that, amongst other things, the 31-year-old Dane grabbed a woman’s breast, urinated on a fellow first-class passenger’s seat and was “under the influence of something” during the journey.

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Giving evidence yesterday, Olesen, who denies all charges, attributed his “bizarre behaviour” to mixing alcohol with two melatonin tablets along and a further two Ambien/Zolpadine pills.

Addressing the jury today, his QC Trevor Burke said: "His conduct was not voluntary, that is the essence of automatism.”

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Burke added that the prescription-only Ambien/Zolpadine pills had been given to Olesen prior to his trip to the United States by his partner who had ordered them from a “dodgy website”. All of this, said Burke, made Olesen’s actions “explainable, medically speaking”.

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"He would never have knowingly taken them had he recognised even the remotest risk of his life being completely ruined," said Burke. “All this man has ever wanted to do was play golf, please let him play it again.”

Prosecutor Max Hardy has urged the jury to convict Olesen, who was joined on the plane by other players including Ian Poulter and Justin Rose.

"Were those golfers letting their hair down after a very stressful period, including what some people consider the most important golf tournament of the year," asked Hardy.

"Is there a possibility of deliberate consumption of alcohol and pills for recreational purposes knowing that was not going to cause any trouble with doping rules?"

The trial continues.

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