Fined for dazzling PSNI helicopter pilot with laser

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A 28 year-old man who shone a laser light at a helicopter in Dungiven has been fined £750.

Appearing at Limavady Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday was Jagpal Irwin of 22 Ard na Smoll in Dungiven. 

The court heard police were in Dungiven on an operation at 10.30pm on January 30 when the laser light was shone at the helicopter. Police traced where it came from. When arrested Irwin handed the laser over and said: “I didn’t know it was illegal”.

Defence for Irwin said his client didn’t realise the potential consequences of his actions, and described it as a case of sheer stupidity and ignorance. He said there was no malicious intent. 

District Judge said it was a very serious matter which could have had a possible catastrophic outcome. He said it could have had enormous consequences and could be extremely hazardous. Mr Copeland said the pilot said it had an “intense dazzling effect” causing him to take evasive action. 

Mr. Copeland told Irwin was fortunate the way the matter was brought before the court as it meant he couldn’t get a custodial sentence 

“This in intolerable,” said Mr. Copeland, adding the court takes a very serious views of “this reckless and criminal conduct”.