Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Disappointing’ Sentence For Endangering An Aircraft

Disappointing’ Sentence For Endangering An Aircraft With A Laser Highlights Need For Stronger Laws

The New Zealand Air Line Pilots’ Association (NZALPA) says the sentencing of the latest offender to be found guilty of endangering an aircraft is `disappointing’ and that the law needs to be toughened.

NZALPA calls on the Government to make the pointing of lasers at an aircraft a specific offence and for the courts to make clear this is a very serious and dangerous matter and not a prank

Commenting on the sentencing at Auckland’s District Court of Mr Christian Larsen, who today was sentenced to 100 hours Community Service and attending an alcohol related rehabilitation course, having pleaded guilty to a charge of Endangering Transport, for having pointed a laser at a helicopter in Auckland earlier this year, Wayne Renwick, President of NZALPA says:

`We call on the Government to act before we have a serious incident, and make the pointing of lasers at an aircraft a specific offence. The lives of pilots, passengers and the general public alike, are being put at risk every week. Specific legislation is needed and sentences handed down to reflect this.

‘Although pleased by the conviction of Larsen – we are very disappointed indeed at the sentence handed down in this case. The number of incidents of laser beams being shone into aircraft cockpits and the potential for catastrophe as a result of the blinding of pilots, has increased dramatically in recent years. Sentences handed down to those found guilty of related offences should receive the maximum custodial and financial penalties possible under the law, to send the message that this is a very serious and dangerous offence and not merely a prank.’

The Crown Solicitor suggested a starting point of two years imprisonment to the Judge, but Defence Counsel submissions were that this was his first offence and that this, combined with his issues with addiction and genuine remorse for his actions, should be taken into account.

NZALPA provided key information to the police and formed part of the Crown’s case.

Laser beams can reach up to 37,000 feet (11,277 metres) but most are targeted at the cockpits of aircraft taking off or landing at New Zealand’s airports. Last year there were some 112 reported laser attacks on aircraft and helicopters in New Zealand – and those are just those that are reported. Foreign registered aircraft report attacks to their own airworthiness authorities and these may not be included in these figures.

Mr Renwick adds: `Although legislation has recently been passed by Parliament in New Zealand controlling the importation and sale of high powered lasers, the targeting of aircraft with lasers is not a specific offence, as it is in many countries, as even small handheld ‘pointers’ can cause a serious distraction for pilots at a safety critical phase of flight such as take-off and landing.’


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Labour: Little Announces New Shadow Cabinet

“Labour had an impressive intake of fresh faces after last year’s election and newest MPs have now had a year to show what they’re made of. This reshuffle rewards hard work and continues my drive to renew our Caucus line up." More>>


Because Reasons: Someone Reckons David Seymour Is Politician Of The Year

Trans Tasman's 11th annual Roll Call has thrown a curve ball this year, ignoring the likes of John Key, Bill English, and Winston Peters to pick its politician of the year from the ranks of the new generation. More>>


Whaling: NZ Deeply Disappointed By Japan's Decision

“New Zealand is strongly opposed to whaling in the Southern Ocean. We call on Japan to take heed of the 2014 International Court of Justice decision and international scientific advice concerning their whaling activities.” More>>


Relevant Consents Gained: Government Unveils RMA Reform Package

The government has formally hauled down the flag on its attempts to alter the balance of environmental and economic priorities in the Resource Management Act, unveiling a 180-page Resource Legislation Amendment Bill containing reforms that have been largely endorsed by most political parties. More>>


Closing Schools And Such: Interim Redcliffs Decision Announced

“While the school’s board has argued that circumstances that could give rise to potential disruption are extremely unlikely, advice from technical experts has shown these concerns cannot be ruled out." More>>


Jane Kelsey: High Court Can’t Make Groser Provide TPPA Information Faster

‘This week we went back to court to challenge Trade Minister Groser’s stalling tactics over the release of information on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations, following a High Court order that he reconsider the Official Information Act request I made last January’, said University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey, first applicant in the case. More>>

Werewolf 58: No Climate For Change

The last time the global community tried to take collective action on climate change the world’s leaders finally came to agree that every not-too-onerous effort should be made to hold global warming to 2°C above the pre-industrial average. At Paris, all 150 participant countries nations will have put forward their pledges... On the information available, New Zealand's is the second weakest contribution of any nation in the developed world. More>>


Lambton Quay Shutdown: Object Was Made To Look Like Bomb

Police cordoned off part of Lambton Quay Wednesday afternoon, saying that a suspicious package had been found. Buildings were evacuated and buses were detoured. The army’s explosive ordnance disposal unit was brought to the Quay. More>>


Public Sector Still Shrinking: Record Low Number Of 'Backroom Bureaucrats'

Ongoing restraint in the public sector and a focus on better frontline services has seen a further reduction in the number of core Government employees, State Services Minister Paula Bennett says. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news