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Man who shone laser pen at police helicopter ordered to complete 100 hours community service

By Alan Erwin

Published 02/06/2015

Primary school teacher wins her appeal against being convicted of a classroom assault on an eight-year-old pupil.
Primary school teacher wins her appeal against being convicted of a classroom assault on an eight-year-old pupil.

A man who shone a laser pen at a police helicopter has been ordered to complete 100 hours community service.

Phillip Bell was only trying to see how far the device used for games with his dog could reach, his lawyer said.

The 20-year-old, of Inniscarn Drive in Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, admitted a charge of recklessly or negligently endangering the safety of an aircraft.

Bell was said to have committed the offence near his home on April 4 this year.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard he had bought the pen for his dog to chase after the light.

Defence barrister Mark Farrell said Bell had spotted the helicopter overhead and wanted to know if the beam could stretch that far.

Mr Farrell added that the defendant was sorry for his "stupid" act.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall stressed how Bell's actions could have had fatal consequences.

But because the offence involved reckless behaviour rather than any intent she decided not to hand down a jail sentence.

Mrs Bagnall instead imposed a 100 hours community service order.

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