18 Aug 2009

Man sentenced for shining laser light at plane

3:03 pm on 18 August 2009

A man who shone a laser light at a plane as it prepared to land at Wellington airport has been sentenced to 200 hours of community work.

Vladimir Maricic appeared in Wellington District Court on Tuesday hoping to avoid conviction for pointing a green laser light into the cockpit of a Mount Cook Airlines plane on 4 March 2008.

But Judge Stephen Harrop told the court he could not discharge the 25-year-old without conviction because the offence was moderately serious and had the potential to cause catastrophe.

Judge Harrop said he hoped the sentence would send a message to the public that such behaviour was unacceptable.

The New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association says the sentence is appropriate and will serve as a deterrent to others.