26/10/2012

Laser Pen Users Could Face Jail

A Northern Irish judge has warned anyone using laser pens to cause disruption to flight services could face a jail sentence.

Judge Kinney was handing down a six-month suspended jail term to Michael Jackson, 26, from Island Street, east Belfast.

The accused had pleaded guilty to shining a green laser at a pilot in a police helicopter on 17 August 2010.

Mr Jackson’s term was only suspended in this case because he is a full-time carer for his mother-in-law.

He was arrested after the pilot directed officers on the ground towards the light source. Officers then searched Jackson, found the laser pen and arrested him.

"It is clear those who target aircraft in this dangerous and reckless way should expect to go to prison," said Judge Kinney.

Jackson pleaded guilty to endangering the safety of an aircraft.

Prosector Ian Tannahill said pilots were not allowed to fly following an incident with a laser pen until they had undergone an eye test.

He told the court this was an indication of how seriously these matters are taken the Civil Aviation Authority.

Defence lawyer Jonathan Brown told the court he too had been the victim of a recent incident with a laser pen which left him disorientated, but pointed out that even though the incident lasted 17 minutes, the defendant had only shone the laser at the helicopter for a total of 37 seconds in flashes of one or two seconds at a time.

Jackson was also ordered to pay the pilot £30 compensation, the price of the eye test the pilot had to undergo.

(IT)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

16 November 2020
Two Men Arrested In Connection With Petrol Bomb Incident
Two men have been arrested in connection with an incident in Ballymena in the early hours on Sunday, 15 November. Officers were in the Fisherwick Gardens area, shortly before 5am, when they became aware that a petrol bomb had been thrown inside a property. There were three male occupants inside the property at the time.
10 March 2020
Probe Over Armed Robbery In Belfast City Centre
Police are investigating a suspected armed robbery of a cash-in-transit van in Belfast City Centre. The scene in Academy Street and Exchange Street was held at around 7.50am this morning, Tuesday 10 March, following the alleged incident. No further details have emerged as yet.
18 February 2020
Man Seriously Assaulted In West Belfast
Detectives are appealing for information after a man was assaulted in west Belfast last week. The victim suffered a serious eye wound when attacked in the Springfield Avenue area by an unknown male, who is believed to have been armed with a weapon, on the evening of Wednesday 12 February.
12 February 2020
Man & Woman Stabbed In South Belfast- Reports
A man and woman have been stabbed during an altercation at a house in south Belfast, according to reports. It's understood the incident took place at a house in Kitchener Street shortly before 6.45pm on Tuesday 11 February. Local reports suggest that a woman, aged 27, was arrested.
20 January 2020
Pedestrian Dies In Co Antrim Collision
A male pedestrian has died following a road crash in Co Antrim. The incident, involving a vehicle and a pedestrian, happened on the Glenavy Road in Maghaberry at around 11.30pm on Sunday 19 January. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.