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Scotland: Community service for ADHD man who lased police helicopter, 8 weeks before copter crashed into pub

An Edinburgh man was sentenced to 240 hours of community service on June 2 2014, for aiming a green laser beam at a Police Scotland helicopter. Jones avoided jail time “because his actions were linked to his Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder,” according to an Edinburgh Evening Times news story.

The incident occurred on October 1 2013. The helicopter pilot turned the craft away from the beam, to avoid the light. Other crew used infrared cameras to track the perpetrator and direct ground officers to his location. The officers found a laser pen in the possession of Grant Jones, 24, and arrested him.

The same helicopter crashed into a pub in Glasgow on November 29 2013, killing all three on board plus seven persons on the ground. There is no linkage between Jones’ laser illumination and the crash 60 days later, which was caused by both engines flaming out.
In May, Jones pleaded guilty to violating the Civil Aviation Act.

Grant Jones laser
Grant Jones

At sentencing, the judge told Jones: “I initially thought this could only be dealt with by a custodial sentence. However, I am satisfied it was not a deliberate attempt to cause harm. You have been publicly humiliated and have had to close your Facebook account due to the response you have had from strangers who have posted on it. You have suffered an appropriate level of guilt and shame.”

Jones’ ADHD condition is being monitored and he is not considered to be a threat to public safety.

From the Edinburgh Evening News, the Express, and a Wikipedia article about the crash