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Micronesia: First FSM prosecution for aiming a laser at an aircraft

On or around November 21 2017, Isak Rawit became the first person to be prosecuted in the Federated States of Micronesia for aiming a laser at an aircraft.

At about 9:40 pm on October 29 2017, and at 2:30 am the next morning, the pilots of a United Airlines plane reported green laser light being aimed at them.

The laser was traced to Rawit, who had been fishing in waters off Ruo in Chuuk State. Police said the laser was similar to military grade laser pointers; it was six inches long with a flashlight mode and red and green lasers.

Rawit admitted that each time he saw the plane overhead, he aimed his laser pointer at the aircraft.

In FSM, it is not illegal to own that type of laser pointer, but it is illegal to point it at an aircraft.

Rawit could be jailed for up to five years, and could be fined up to $10,000.

From Marianas Variety

US: Arrest for pointing laser and flashlight at police helicopter

A 47-year-old Springfield, Virginia man was charged with pointing a laser and a flashlight at a police helicopter. The incident happened on February 12, when helicopter crew members searching for a suspect in an unrelated case had their vision “blocked” by a green laser and a white light.

Police located the house where the lights were coming from. On March 4 they arrested Raymond Jeffrey Poli. He was charged on March 16 with interfering with the operation of an aircraft, endangering life, and obstruction of justice.

From
MyFoxDC.com

UK: 63-year-old arrested for aiming flashlight (torch)

Torben Merriott, 63, was arrested for shining a flashlight (torch) at an RAF Apache helicopter, after being awakened at 1 am by two gunships which were on a military exercise. The arrest for was "suspicion of endangering an aircraft by dazzling the pilot." He was held for nine hours before being bailed out of jail. The charge carries a maximum sentence of two years in jail.

Merriott said the gunships sounded like an "earthquake" and were "10 feet above my garden" in his farmhouse near Eye, Suffolk. News reports said he used the flashlight to identify the aircraft, during the September 18 2009 incident.

The flashlight was readily available and cost £8.45 (US $13.86). Merriott owns a theatrical lighting firm that has lit flying helicopters at a Buckingham Palace event. He insists he did not put the aircraft at risk: "Don't tell the Taliban that all they need is an eight-quid torch to bring down multi-million-pound high-tech gunships."

Full story, with photo of Merriott and a torch, from the Daily Mail.

UPDATE: Charges were dropped two days after the incident. Merriott said he was considering making an official complaint:
"I cannot help feeling that to keep me locked up for nine hours is pretty vindictive, when I was happy to make a statement. It was heavy handed and I think they were trying to teach me a lesson."

Update from
EDP24