A comprehensive resource for safe and responsible laser use

New Zealand: Man aimed laser into two police officers' eyes

A New Zealand man aimed a laser pointer at police officers who were conducting a bail check on June 3 2018. When the officers arrived, Niki John Gamble-Mackesy, 23, deliberately aimed a green "high-powered" laser pointer [likely over the 1 milliwatt New Zealand limit] directly into the officers' eyes.

They felt "immediate discomfort and a burning sensation in their eyes" according to the police report. One of the officers had pain and headaches for the next two days, and was seen by an optometrist. There was no permanent injury to either officer.

Gamble-Mackesy was sentenced in Hamilton District Court on February 5 2019 to four years, three months in jail, and was also ordered not to drive for two years. Charges against him included injuring with intent to injure, threatening to kill, obstructing the course of justice, dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, failing to stop for police, and two charges of committing an act of criminal nuisance. It was not clear how much of his jail term, and how many of the charges, directly related to his laser attack on the police officers, and how many related to additional criminal actions he had taken such as strangling his domestic partner on May 26 2018, and attacking her again on June 8.

From Stuff.co.nz

New Zealand: Store worker describes laser attack which caused stinging eyes, headache, dizziness

In a letter to the editor of the Taranaki (New Zealand) Daily News, a woman described the effects of laser light in her eyes. On July 20 2013, Therese Costello of Whalers Gate was in her store serving a customer when the passenger of a car outside, waiting at a light, aimed a laser beam at Costello. She said she “was left with stinging eyes, a very strong headache, [and] a constant state of dizziness for the next few hours.” She said she was still feeling the effects as she wrote the letter.

From Stuff.co.nz via Taranaki Daily News. The full text of the letter is below. Note: LaserPointerSafety.com is listing this incident as part of our coverage of non-aviation laser misuse; in this case, to give an idea of what it is like for someone to suffer a laser attack.
Click to read more...

New Zealand: Laser pointer used to provoke teen before fight

A 14-year-old was beaten in a fight by two older teenagers. The January 13 2012 incident started when the older teens aimed a laser pointer at the boy and his friends, and began following him. The boy asked the older teens to stop. One said “Are you disrespecting me?” and then punched him. He was knocked unconscious for several seconds, and suffered a broken jaw. The older teens have not yet been found.

From IOL News

New Zealand: 60-year-old convicted of shining laser beams at ferries

A 60-year-old New Zealand man was found guilty of four counts of being a criminal nuisance by endangering the public. Bernard Westbrook Long aimed laser beams at Interisland ferries in the Tory Channel of Cook Strait on September 22 and October 12 2007. He was sentenced to 300 hours of community service.

bernard westbrook long laser
300 hours of community service for shining lasers on ferries


The judge said that while Long could have caused “significant” harm, he no longer lived in a house overlooking the channel, so “the chance of reoffending was unlikely.”

From the Marlborough Express. There are additional stories about Long’s guilty plea from the New Zealand Herald; about prosecutors being upset due to Long being given bail despite having “an arsenal” of 30 guns, also from the New Zealand Herald; and about the trial where the defense said persons other than Long were using the laser, from the Marlborough Express.

New Zealand: Youth injury leads to calls for restrictions

An 11-year-old New Zealand boy has lost sharpness in his right eye, after playing with a 200 mW laser in his bedroom. The beam reflected from a mirror back into his eye, causing what the boy described as a “fuzzy blob”. Retinal specialist Dr. Dianne Sharp says the boy has a 1.5mm retinal scar that has “slightly compromised” his vision in the right eye by “reducing the reading level on the eye-testing chart by three print sizes.” His overall vision was not greatly affected, according to Dr. Sharp.

Dr. Sharp and the boy’s mother both called for restrictions on laser pointers in New Zealand. The boy’s laser was purchased in Thailand for $15 while on a family holiday in January 2011. The date of the laser injury is not known.Click to read more...

New Zealand: Youths suspected of lasering cars die trying to escape police

New Zealand police, responding to a report of a person shining a red laser beam onto motorists, saw a vehicle speed off. The police gave chase with lights and siren. Although the police ended the chase quickly, the car continued speeding, crashed into a power pole, and flipped over to land on its roof. Two 20-year-olds died in the crash, two other passengers were hospitalized, and the 20-year-old driver fled the scene on foot.

The incident took place in the Auckland suburb of Onehunga late on Friday September 17.

From the
New Zealand police report and the New Zealand Herald