22 Sep 2012

Pilots want lasers prohibited, in wake of court case

12:32 pm on 22 September 2012

The New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association wants legislation prohibiting the sale of lasers introduced, following the sentencing of a man who targeted several aircraft with one.

Pravikash Chandra, 19, escaped a prison term at the Manukau District Court on Friday, when he was sentenced to four-and-a-half months' home detention on four charges of endangering transport.

He admitted aiming a laser at the cockpits of three commercial aeroplanes and a police helicopter.

Each of the four charges carried a prison term of up to 12 months.

Chandra targeted the planes as they were making their final approaches to Auckland International Airport and subsequently took aim at the police helicopter sent to investigate the incidents.

In court, Chandra's lawyer said his client was sorry and remorseful.

Judge Charles Blackie said his actions were deliberate and endangered the lives of more than 600 people.

Association vice-president Wayne Renwick says it wants the Government to change the law surrounding the sale of lasers.

Mr Renwick says Australia banned the importation of lasers in 2008, and reclassified them as a weapon.

"That's the sort of legislation we'd like to see the New Zealand Government introduce."