Teen admits shining laser pen at a police helicopter in Queen’s Park
PUBLISHED: 14:28 24 June 2011 | UPDATED: 14:28 24 June 2011
Youth told he faces a custodial sentence
A teenager who shone a laser pen at a police helicopter ‘to see how far it would go’ was warned he could face jail for his action.
Islam Ali, 19, was arrested after the pilot noticed that someone was attempting to flash his aircraft with a green laser as he flew over Third Avenue in Queen’s Park, on March 6 this year.
He identified the source of the light using the helicopter’s camera, and a ground unit was dispatched to pick up the culprit.
Ali appeared in the dock at Southwark Crown Court today (Friday) for a plea and case management hearing in his case.
The teenager, from North Kensington, spoke only to confirm his identity and admit a charge of endangering the safety of the helicopter and its passengers.
Usha Shergill, prosecuting, told the court that a police helicopter pilot became aware that he was being ‘deliberately and persistently’ targeted by a green laser as he flew over Queen’s Park.
Fortunately, as the altitude of the chopper was at 1,500 ft, the strength of the beam was not sufficient to affect his vision.
An onboard camera was used to pick out the suspect and a ground unit was sent to find him.
On his arrest, Ali said he had said he had used a laser pen on a balcony and was shining it into the sky because ‘I wanted to see how far it would go.’
Judge Gregory Stone, QC, adjourned sentencing until July 28 to give probation officers time to compile a pre-sentence report on the defendant.
He granted Ali unconditional bail ahead of that date, but warned him: “I have to tell you that this is a serious offence, and you are at risk of going to prison when you come back.”