Front page of the local borough's newspaper, Eastendlife, more news from Snaresbrook Crown Court about green l@ser pointers (including snippet at end about a successful appeal from the aforementioned):
THE aircrew of a police helicopter were forced to send out a distress call after two yobs shone a blinding l@ser pen into their cockpit.
Ifikitar Hussain, 21, and Dulal Miah, 19, repeatedly flashed strobes of luminous green light at the aircraft as it hovered over Whitechapel.
Snaresbrook Crown Court was shown footage of Hussain and charity worker Miah from the helicopter’s thermal imaging camera as they ran through the streets of Whitechapel pointing the pen skyward.
The court heard on April 15 how a police helicopter was on night patrol over the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel Road, on January 12 this year, when Hussain and Miah shone the l@ser. During the video recording the aircrew from the helicopter can be heard sending the distress call to squad cars on the ground.
The police airmen asked officers to deal with Hussain and Miah while the helicopter was manoeuvred away from the l@ser beam, but still continued to track the duo from the sky to help with their capture.
When Hussain and Miah were cornered by squad cars, one of the pair tossed the l@ser pen over a fence into a grassed area before they were arrested.
Hussain and Miah of Trahorn Close, Whitechapel admitted recklessly acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft or any person therein.
Judge Tudor Owen said he wanted to hear from the pilot how much danger the aircraft was in and adjourned sentencing until May 12. But he warned both defendants that they could be jailed. Hussain and Miah were both remanded on conditional bail and ordered to comply with night-time curfews.
The case comes just weeks after city banker Aldous Voice was given a custodial sentence, which was later quashed, for flashing a high-powered torch at a helicopter which could have caused it to crash.
Voice, 31, admitted shining the five-million-candle lamp from his kitchen window as the aircraft came in to land on top of a building in the Isle of Dogs on October 24, 2006.
They ran a story about this on Radio Lancashire yesterday afternoon, the lady reporter made it sound as if the occupants of the car had shone the l@ser at the ASU,..... well if they did, then surely the MOD should be asking could they teach this new skill, .....more like to have come from some terraced abode in downtown Nelson... were the bloods use such implements to test the strength of the eyes of new gang recruits
At Snaresbrook Crown Court yesterday two defendants were sentenced to six months imprisonment for recklessly endangering the safety of an aircraft in flight by persistently shining a powerful green l@zer into the cockpit of a Met Police helicopter. The incident was captured on police video and the defendants had previously pleaded guilty. In his summing up the judge said let the message go out that people tempted to target helicopters in this idiotic and dangerous way should expect to receive custodial sentences.
Hopefully this will set a precedent for future cases....
At Snaresbrook Crown Court on the 15th May HH Judge Tudor Owen sentenced ech of two defendants who had pleaded guilty to recklessly endangering the safety of an aircraft by shining a green l@zer light into the cockpit of a police helicopter to 6 months imprisonment
Captain Brian Baldwin, Chief Pilot of the Metropolitan Police Air Support Unit since 1997 told the court that the frequency of l@zers being used against their helicopters is doubling each year so that there are now up to 15 incidents each month. In his opinion the increase in recent years is in direct proportion to the reduction in size, cost and increase in availability of such devices. He described the effect of shining such a device into the cockpit of a helicopter at night and gave his opinion that “..it is only through chance that we have not had a serious incident or accident from the increasing incidence of l@zer lights being used against police helicopters”.
Judge Owen told the two men
“The potentially catastrophic consequences of endangering an aircraft in flight are so obvious they do not need to be spelled out and when an aircraft is flying over a densely populated area the consequences may be even more serious.
As frequently seen in cases before this and other courts, police helicopters do invaluable work protecting the community and combating crime. That includes, for example, searching for and helping to apprehend suspects, assisting with firearms incidents, public order incidents and counter terrorism operations. The crews are entitled to be protected from the likes of you who are, as I have said, a dangerous menace. The message should go out that people who target helicopters in this idiotic and dangerous way should expect to receive custodial sentences.”