A comprehensive resource for safe and responsible laser use
Woodcroft, South Australia
A South Australia Police helicopter checking on COVID compliance during a three-day lockdown was hit seven times by a blue laser on November 20, 2020. There was no injury to the crew but one officer was dazzled temporarily by the beam.
Two frames from the South Australia Police helicopter. In the first frame the laser beam is aimed to the left of the camera. In the second frame the beam is aimed directly at the camera lens. The human eye would have a similar effect, first seeing the beam then being dazzled and flashblinded by the bright direct light.
The perpetrator was found to be Mark Andrew Golka, 49, who lived in the Adelaide suburb of Woodcroft. He was said to have been drinking alcohol and taking prescription pain medication when he aimed the laser. At sentencing, the judge told Golka "…that is no excuse to having committed these offences."
Golka was sentenced to 15 months in prison, suspended. He signed a two-year good behavior bond, will be supervised for 18 months, and will perform 80 hours of community service.
After the sentencing, his lawyer said Golka was sorry for what he had done.
From ABC News. The page includes a video of the laser illumination, from which the two frames above were taken.
Evanston, South Australia
In September 2013, Stewart repeatedly aimed a laser pen at a police helicopter.
The pilot had been using night vision goggles. He had "minor discomfort and sensitivity to light" for the next two days.
In court on July 2 2015, Stewart's lawyer said he was inebriated at the time and was playing with the laser which he had purchased online for less than AUS $10. The lawyer called Stewart's actions "inebriated stupidity."
The judge called Stewart's actions "drunken, dumb and dangerous."
Stewart pleaded guilty to prejudicing the safe operation of an aircraft and using a prohibited weapon — the laser.
He was sentenced to two years and four months, suspended in favor of a $500, two-year good behavior bond.
From ABC News
Adelaide, SA, Australia
Baldetti pleaded guilty in April 2008 to “prejudicing the safe operation of an aircraft” as well as having illegal weapons in his car.
In June 2007, a green laser beam was aimed at a police helicopter flying over Rosewater in Adelade. The pilot was temporarily blinded for several seconds.
Baldetti said at one point that the helicopter pilot aimed a spotlight at him, causing Baldetti to retaliate with the laser. More specifically, when police told him it was illegal to aim a laser at an aircraft, Baldetti replied “What about him shining a big f***ing torch at me?… He started it.”
Sentencing was delayed because the judge wanted a psychiatric report on Baldetti: “This is, on the face of it, such a mindless thing to do. I’d like to have some expert view about what underpins this…. I would be much helped to understand what happened here.”
He could have been given a maximum sentence of 14 years. He was given a jail term of two years and three months. He will be eligible for release after 10 months.
He appealed his sentence but was denied by the Court of Criminal Appeal on August 21 2008.
From ABC News, The Advertiser (original report quoted in a forum post, psychiatric report, appeal),
Mandurah, Western Australia
Moore was fined AUS $10,000 (USD $9,093) on September 19 2014, for continually aiming a green laser beam at a police helicopter.
On August 25 2014, he was walking his dog and playing with the laser pointer when he decided to aim it at a helicopter overhead. His lawyer said Moore “didn’t think it would hit or reach the aircraft.” The pilot took evasive action and was “distressed” throughout the incident. When arrested, Moore told police his actions were “stupid” and he was an “idiot.”
He could have been jailed for up to three years, and fined up to $36,000. The sentencing judge said Moore was lucky to not be jailed, given that “the risk of damage was huge.”
Parmelia, Perth, Western Australia
McArthur was sentenced on July 8 2014 to AUS $2500 in fines (USD $2350), $147 in court costs, and had two lasers destroyed. He had earlier pleaded guilty to aiming a green laser multiple times at a police helicopter. Prosecutors wanted a jail sentence, but the judge took into account McArthur’s guilty plea and his minimal record.
Woodvale, Western Australia, Australia
On September 4 2013, Manning was fined AUS $10,000 (USD $9,140) for causing fear with a laser or light. On August 3 2013, a police helicopter was conducting a search in the Perth suburb of Woodvale when it was hit a number of times by a bright green laser light. The pilot had “immediate distress” and took evasive action. Ground officers arrested Manning at his home in Woodvale. He was later found guilty in Joondalup magistrates court.
Orange, New South Wales, Australia
On May 16 2013, Toohey was fined AUS $400 for possession of a laser pointer in a public place. The pointer had been found in a vehicle during a traffic stop.
New Farm (Brisbane), Queensland, Australia
On May 20 2011, Raine aimed a laser pointer at Channel 9's helicopter. He was convicted June 29 2011 of endangering the safe use of a vehicle. Raine said the lasing was stupid and he meant no harm.
Port Kennedy, Perth, Western Australia
On October 25 2012, Giguere and Trauttmansdorff were each fined AUS $10,000 for lasing a police helicopter on July 20 2012. In addition, the conviction jeopardizes the ability of Giguere, a Canadian citizen, to stay in Australia on a partner provisional visa. Guigere (pictured above demonstrating how she aimed the laser) said in an interview that the fine would adversely affect her plans to start a business and buy land for a home.