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New Zealand: 51 months in jail for aiming a laser into officers' eyes plus other charges

Niki John Gamble-Mackesy, 23
New Zealand (no city given)


On June 3 2018, Niki John Gable-Macksey, 23, aimed a laser pointer at police officers who were conducting a bail check. He 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.

On January 30 2019 Gamble-Mackesy was sentenced in Hamilton District Court 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 and threatening to kill (strangling his domestic partner on May 26 2018, and attacking her again on June 8), 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.

The judge's sentencing instructions listed the number of months of imprisonment for various charges:

1) Attempting to pervert the course of justice, 51 months (4 years, 3 months)
2) Disqualified driving, nine months
3) Dangerous driving, two months
4) Failing to stop, six months
5) Injuring with intent to injure, nine months
6) Criminal nuisance (shining a laser at police officers), nine months
7) Threatening to kill, nine months
8) Willfully attempting to pervert the course of justice (separate from #1), nine months.

The prison terms were to be served concurrently, not consecutively, for a total of 51 months of imprisonment.

The above helps show how the judge weighed the relative seriousness of the laser charge, compared with the other charges.

From Stuff.co.nz. Thank you to Yung Chun-fai for providing the text of the sentencing report.

US: 3 years in prison

Anton Strom, 24
King City, Washington County, Oregon, US
On July 17 2010, Strom aimed a "powerful, industrial grade" green laser at a sheriff's deputy. The deputy thought the laser could be on a weapon; he pulled his gun and prepared to fire on Strom. The deputy has degraded vision and permanent retinal scarring in his left eye.

Strom was charged with two counts of second-degree assault and one count of unlawful use of a weapon. He pled guilty to one second-degree assault count, as part of a plea bargain reducing his sentence from the minimum six years, to three years. He was sentenced in December 2010.