Christchurch man jailed for shining laser pointer at planes

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A Christchurch man has been sentenced to two and a half months in jail for shining a laser light at two planes coming in to land at Christchurch Airport.

Tane Hemopo appeared at the Christchurch District Court today after pleading guilty to two charges of causing unnecessary danger to aircraft under the Civil Aviation Act.

Christchurch man Tane Hemopo has been sentenced to two and a half months in jail for shining a laser light at two planes coming in to land

Christchurch man Tane Hemopo has been sentenced to two and a half months in jail for shining a laser light at two planes coming in to land

Source: 1 NEWS

The 39-year-old pointed a high-powered laser at a New Zealand Post Metroliner and Virgin Airlines passenger plane, as well as a Christchurch Airport control tower, on April 5.

The pointer struck the cockpit of the Virgin Airlines international flight, dazzling the flight crew, though it had little effect on them, Justice Tom Gilbert said.

"Your actions put those flights at unnecessary risk," he said.

Hemopo failed to turn up for sentencing two months ago and has been in custody since October 17 over other charges.

A request for the sentencing to be deferred until Hemopo was out of jail by his lawyer was denied by Justice Gilbert.

Prison time was the only realistic sentencing for Hemopo, he said.

The initial 16-week sentencing was down-graded due to an early guilty plea and indication of Hemopo's remorse.

Justice Gilbert said none of Hemopo's previous offending was "anything like this."

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