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Man allegedly pointed laser beam at plane flying over Dubbo

June 2, 2023

Dubbo Airport. Facebook.

By Peter Holmes

A man has been charged after allegedly directing a laser beam at a plane flying over Dubbo.

About 10pm yesterday (Thursday June 1, 2023) police received reports a person directed a laser beam at an aircraft a number of times.

"Following inquiries, officers arrested a 31-year-old man at a home on Arbory Close, Dubbo," NSW Police said.

"He was taken to Dubbo Police Station and charged with possess or use a prohibited weapon without permit and Interfere with a crew member while in an aircraft."

He appeared at Dubbo Local Court today (Friday June 2, 2023), where he was formerly refused bail to appear at the same court on Wednesday June 14, 2023.

A Q&A from NSW Police about laser pointers

Q: Am I allowed to own a battery operated, hand held, laser pointer?

A: You are allowed to own such a laser pointer. However amendments to the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 require a permit be issued (or the person be eligible for an exemption) where the laser pointer exceeds one milliwatt.

Regardless of the milliwatts, no laser pointer can be carried or used in a public place without a reasonable excuse.

Q: What is a reasonable excuse?

A: A reasonable excuse will be determined on a case by case basis but examples of a person with a reasonable excuse could be an amateur astronomer, a teacher or a lecturer who uses the pointer for astronomy or teaching and has it in his or her possession at the relevant time for that purpose.

Q: What is the penalty?

A: The penalty for possession or use of a laser pointer in a public place without a reasonable excuse may be up to two years imprisonment or a fine of up to $5,500.

Q: Can the police search me if they are looking for a laser pointer?

A: Laser pointers are now classed as dangerous implements under the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act. This gives police the power to request a person in a public place (but not a school) to submit to a frisk search if the police officer suspects on reasonable grounds that the person has a laser pointer on them.

A police officer also has the power to confiscate the item if the laser pointer is unlawfully in the person's possession.

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