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Old 02-24-2010, 03:01 PM #1
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Default Dutch court ruling: Man shining laser at military aircraft found not guilty

A man charged arrested for shining a laser at an AWACs military (manned radar surveillance) aircraft has been found not-guilty by a dutch court.

Source in dutch here: FOK.nl / Nieuws / Vrijspraak voor beschijnen Awacs met laser / FOK!frontpage

Rough translation:

Quote:
A man that aledgedly pointed a laser at an awacs aircraft with the intent to crash it was acquitted by a Maastricht court. The judge ruled that there was insufficient evidence that the man pointed the laser at the aircraft with intent of crashing it, or killing or seriously harming its crew.

The judge concluded that it was unclear what intensity, power, range and effect the laser had. The DA demanded 4 years inprisonment against the 55 year old defendant 2 weeks ago. The DA stated he had made 6 attempts to crash an awacs aircraft using a home built laser device.

According to the DA, the defendant hindered the aircraft landing on and departing from the NATO airfield at Geilenkirchen, when they flew over Schinveld [his place of residence]. Shining the lase could have lead to dangerous situaties during 'critical moments' of flight, take-off or landing. The crew were distracted, blinded [not permanently] and sometimes panicked in the cockpit.

The radar aircraft cause a lot of noise pollution in the region.
I've clarified some things between square brackets, the rest of it is an almost literlal translation of the source.


It seems the acquittal is based on lack of information on what laser was used... though i wonder why it has not been confiscated for analysis. Also, more importantly, it has not been demonstrated that his actions would be a viable method of crashing the aircraft, or killing or injuring its crew.

Keep in mind that Dutch law is different from American though, to get convicted there has to be evidence that an attempt to harm or kill anyone has to have at least some chance of succes. Throwing a ping-pong ball with the intent to kill someone, for example, would not be a felony. I have no further information on what type of laser was used, neither did the court, so your guess to how dangerous the situation actually was is as good or bad as mine. The DA can still appeal this ruling, and perhaps they will provide additional information (about the laser, altitude and attitude of aircraft and such) to a higher court. It is not very likely that such additional evidence would be acceptable though.



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Old 02-28-2010, 07:08 PM #2
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Default Re: Dutch court ruling: Man shining laser at military aircraft found not guilty

It definately wasn't me
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Old 02-28-2010, 07:59 PM #3
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Default Re: Dutch court ruling: Man shining laser at military aircraft found not guilty

It was probably McTroll....

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Old 03-01-2010, 10:40 AM #4
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Default Re: Dutch court ruling: Man shining laser at military aircraft found not guilty

I have no idea about the identity of the suspect, besides that he is named "Eduard D" in the media. It is not common to mention last names of suspects in the media here, not even if they are convicted unless the cases are high profile.

The interesting part of it is that actual danger has to be proven to some degree. Its unfortunate that they did not even attept to do so by analyzing the laser, which would have given legal precedent as to what is acceptable and what is not.

As far as responsible use goes, it may be advantagous: When you point a laser up into the sky an accidentily hit an airliner at great altitude, thats probably going to be okay.
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Old 03-01-2010, 03:51 PM #5
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Default Re: Dutch court ruling: Man shining laser at military aircraft found not guilty

i heard this on the radio to, when they said he was not guilty i was like
i surely hope this wont sharpen customs to check more often for lasers that would ruin it for the fair and carefull people
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Old 03-01-2010, 05:27 PM #6
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Default Re: Dutch court ruling: Man shining laser at military aircraft found not guilty

I doubt it, dutch customs checks are rather lax, as long as the state isnt losing any money over it... they go for cartons of cigs smuggled in and the occasional shipment of narcotics rather than laser pointers.

I'm not sure any ban is enforced at all, but on the more powerful models they will slap on import duties and VAT, but you still get the package if you pay.
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Old 03-01-2010, 08:13 PM #7
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Default Re: Dutch court ruling: Man shining laser at military aircraft found not guilty

But a lot of people put a lower value on the customs form, I once got a 20W diode bar marked as a $5 copper block. But when it gets too big, they check, I had to provide a copy of a reciept once for a $15 HP 5334B shipped for $115 in a big box. No wonder they didn't trust it
But I'm most pissed about their delay when they get greedy (above 22 euro package value). It took about 45 days, it's usually here within 15 days. Good thing they know nothing about lasers.
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Old 03-02-2010, 10:49 PM #8
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Default Re: Dutch court ruling: Man shining laser at military aircraft found not guilty

I think the guy is an idiot, and the Dutch judge was probably ruling only on the wording of the charges themselves, not the larger ramifications of the actual incident. The last thing we need are fools, in any country, shining lasers into cockpits and distracting the pilots of half-megaton flying machines. There may not have been an intent to crash the jet, and no direct harm, but the fact that he is interfering with the operation of a large vehicle is in itself dangerous and should require sanctions. Any future cases will probably be brought up on different charges, like public endangerment.
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Old 03-03-2010, 12:12 AM #9
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Default Re: Dutch court ruling: Man shining laser at military aircraft found not guilty

Thats entirely possible. Perhaps the DA tried to get the maximum penalty here - the charges go as fat as attemped murder here. I'm sure there is some law that forbids distracting traffic (road or air) too, but the penaltiy for that would probably just be a fine (in the order of $500 max) if no actual harm was done.

In that regard holland is very different from the US. People dont generally go to jail unless the crime is very serious.
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