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Italy: Prosecutor investigating manslaughter charges in three cases of eye damage to children from laser pointers

In three separate cases, children in the area of Bologna have suffered eye damage caused by laser pointers.

The cases were reported in mid-September 2015 by the St. Ursula Ophthalmology Hospital in Bologna. One of the children was 10; the other two were 13.

The injuries were caused by laser pointers bought by their parents (in two cases) or grandmother (in the third case) in markets in Florence or Bologna. One child had a slight loss of vision, another had significant loss in both eyes, and a third has almost lost his sight and is legally blind.

A public prosecutor, Valter Giovannini, has opened an investigation for aggravated manslaughter against unknown assailants. This seems to indicate that in all three cases, the laser pointer bought by or for the children was used against them by another person.

As a result of the report, Carabinieri NAS (Nuclei Antisofisticazioni e Sanità or “Anti Fraud Squad”), a special police force operating under the Italian ministry of health, seized fifteen illegally-sold laser pointers.

The hospital warned the public not to purchase green laser pointers sold “on the street, in the stalls and fairs.” A spokesperson said higher-powered pointers such as those aimed at players in stadiums were to be avoided. Professional laser pointers used in lectures should not be a problem.

From Corriere di Bologna. Thanks to Alberto Kellner Ongaro for bringing this to our attention.

Italy: Barcelona's Messi tagged with laser pen against Milan

During a Champions League quarter-final on March 28 2012, FC Barcelona player Lionel Messi had laser light shined in his face during a free kick against AC Milan. According to the Guardian, the light “clearly bothered him” and he missed the kick.

Lionel Messi laser

Later, during another Messi free kick, a laser was aimed at Milan defender Dani Alves.

Messi is a top-ranked star who he won FIFA World Player of the Year in 2009, and won the UFEA Best Player in Europe award for 2010-11.

From Metro and the Guardian

Italy: Footballer says laser pointer not at fault for missed kick

A German football (soccer) player was flashed by a laser pointer from the stands, before taking a penalty kick. Striker Mario Gomez missed the shot, but later said “The laser pointer was there but it wasn’t the reason. I don’t have to look for excuses.”

The Champions League game was played October 18 2011 in Naples, between Bayern Munich and Napoli. Others on the Munich team had different opinions. Sports director Christian Nerlinger said “Laser points are not acceptable. It is a major disturbance and an impossible thing to do,” while midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger said “Of course it is guess [sic] but I think there is little you can do about it.”

From Monsters and Critics

Italy: Lasers pointed at motorists

Italian motorists passing under a bridge on SS194, the Modica Pozzalo, have been “bombarded with beams of laser light”, according to the Ragusa News. “Heavy penalties are now at risk” for those involved.

From Ragusa News (in Italian)

Italy: Pre-school hit twice, parents fearful

A pre-school in Rome was targeted twice by laser beams in a single month, sending students to the hospital for examinations both times. According to an Italian newspaper report, “the laser beam coming from outside the building hit them in the eyes, hurting them”. The exams showed “eyes puffy and watery, fortunately no serious injuries to the cornea.”

The school board president says that the laser could only have come from apartments overlooking the school, but “we do not know if it is the act of a madman or a child struggling with a dangerous toy.” Police are searching for the perpetrator.

After the second incident, teachers lowered the blinds in the classroom. The report also notes other “increasing” incidents where laser pointers are used against pilots and football (soccer) goalies.

From Corriere Della Sera, “Laser negli occhi dei bimbi”. Thanks to Alberto Kellner Ongaro for bringing this to our attention.

Italy: €15000 fine for laser in goalkeeper's eyes

Serie A football club Napoli have been fined 15,000 (about $22,000 USD) after their supporters shone a laser into the eyes of AC Milan goalkeeper Dida during a game on 28 October 2009.