Monday, June 20, 2011
21st Century Vandalism
I sat at an 'away' court in North West London a few weeks ago, and on our remand list I was surprised to see among the drugs and the assaults and the drink drives two cases of endangering an aircraft. As far as I know this court's area does not cover any kind of airport, so I wondered what it was all about. I asked the clerk about it before we went in, and the penny dropped. Two young men had been pursuing the popular sport of shining a high-powered laser at passing helicopters, in this case a machine operated by the Metropolitan Police. These lasers can be bought online for a modest amount, and can cause serious danger by dazzling the pilot, and making it impossible for him to read his instruments. I understand that this sometimes happens to airliners in the last stage of their approach to land. It is of course a serious matter, and we had no hesitation in sending the matter up to the Crown Court. I think that it will go to Wood Green - if by chance matters finish up at Snaresbrook and they come before this particular judge they can expect to spend some time where their view of the night sky is severely restricted.