A man who shone a laser pen at a police helicopter hovering over the Odyssey Arena during the MTV Europe Music Awards could have killed Lady Gaga and a host of other A-list celebrities.
Crown Court Judge Geoffrey Miller QC said had the pilot been blinded, even momentarily, the consequences could have been fatal for those on board and "unimaginable" for those on the ground.
However, Judge Miller told a "foolish and unthinking" Aaron McCrory he accepted his actions were more reckless than deliberate and suspended his eight-month jail term for two years.
Storeman McCrory, a 28-year-old father of two from Annsboro Street, Belfast, pleaded guilty to endangering the safety of the police surveillance helicopter on November 6, 2011.
Prosecutor Joseph Murphy said McCrory had targeted the helicopter on several occasions.
Defence lawyer Richard McConkey said McCrory was not motivated by any animosity towards the police, nor had he targeted the helicopter as it was keeping watch on a riotous mob, which, he said, would have been a much more serious matter.