A man who shone a laser which he used to identify “stars, planets and constellations” at a police helicopter has been ordered to pay a fine of £500.
The 28-year-old’s solicitor told court: “This was borne more out of stupidity rather than malice…from the footage you can see that the green laser momentarily enters the cockpit.”
Toader-Ioan Polei, of Drumalane Park, Newry, had a plea of guilty entered on his behalf to shining or directing a laser beam towards a vehicle at the city’s Magistrates’ on Wednesday.
Prosecution outlined that on March 1, at 6.45pm, police received a call from air support that a green laser had been shone at a helicopter in the Newry area.
Footage showed this to be coming from the rear of the defendant’s property, with only one person visible at the time.
Police attended the address and arrested Polei, during interview he admitted to the offence but commented that he had not thought it to be dangerous.
Defence solicitor Ciaran Downey stated: “This is a foreign national who has lived in this jurisdiction for seven years…he has nor record at all and this was a plea at the first opportunity.
“He instructs this pen can be bought over the internet and is popular tool in astronomy…. he had been using in with his wife to make out stars, planets and constellations.”
He added: “This was borne more out of stupidity rather than malice…from the footage you can see that the green laser momentarily enters the cockpit.”
District Judge Eamon King stated: “I am sure he did not need it to make out the helicopter… if he had of brought down the helicopter it would have been catastrophic.
“This is a very serious matter and people should really think about their actions.”
Polei was ordered to pay a fine of £500, along with the offender’s levy of £15.