Feb 26 2014
Three young Muslims were each fined ONLY $3,000 after admitting they pointed a green laser light at the Edmonton police Air-1 helicopter. Mohamed Cheikh-Mohamad, 19, Ahmad Khaled Safi, 20, and Mohammed El-Mustapha, 19, each pleaded guilty in Provincial Court to one count of creating a hazard to aviation under the federal Aeronautics Act.
Edmonton Sun (h/t Len T) Judge Thomas Goodson accepted a joint submission by Crown and defence for the $3,000 fine after noting that laser pointing at aircraft is a “very serious problem.”
Goodson also suggested Parliament might make laser pointing a criminal offence in the future and said that could result in those convicted being put in prison.
Crown prosecutor Breena Smith told court that the city police chopper was patrolling north Edmonton about 11:40 p.m. on Sept. 7 when the pilot and flight officer noticed a green laser beam hitting the cockpit. The crew immediately put on protective glasses and then turned on their infrared camera and determined the laser was coming from a playground area near 157 Avenue and 117 Street, said Smith.
Patrol officers were then dispatched to the area and the trio was arrested and taken into custody, said Smith.
The prosecutor said it wa s aggravating that the laser was directed at the police helicopter for a full two minutes, which she described as a “continuous, relentless attack.” Smith said it was also aggravating that the flight crew risked eye damage and there was a potential for a “catastrophic” collision if the chopper had gone down.
Defence lawyer Mona Karout called the $3,000 fine “hefty” and an “expensive lesson” for the trio, none of whom had a criminal record.
In the United States, they would have gone to jail: