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Man shone laser pen in pedestrian’s eyes from car on the A96

Joab Hayward
Joab Hayward

A Sheriff fired a warning to laser pen users that they face a jail sentence if they shine the devices towards aircraft pilots or motorists.

Sheriff Margaret Neilson issued the threat at Inverness Sheriff Court yesterday when 19-year-old brewery worker Joab Hayward appeared before her and admitted shining a laser pen in close proximity to 68-year-old David Drew and risking causing him injury in Nairn in January.

She said: “It is an incredibly dangerous act, especially if a laser pen is shone at people like the pilot of an aeroplane, a driver of a car or a pilot of a rescue helicopter as happened recently.

“I know this did not happen in this case but these type of offences would inevitably lead to a custodial sentence.”

Defence solicitor John MacColl tried and failed to persuade the Sheriff to give Hayward of Innes Terrace, Auldearn, an absolute discharge of a lengthy period of deferral for good behaviour.

The court was told that Hayward was a passenger in a car on the A96 when Mr Drew became aware of the bright green light being shone into his face.

Fiscal depute Michelle Molley said he turned away from it and then took a note of the vehicle registration before reporting it to the police.

Mr MacColl said: “The laser pen was not his. He got into the car and sat on it. Then he shone it out of the car he thought at immovable objects but it was in close proximity to the pedestrian. It was a stupid act – a childish prank.

“His father is in the RAF and is aware of the dangers and there has been parental action.”

Mr MacColl then went on to call on the Government to ban the pens, saying it was legal to own one but illegal to use it in certain ways.

He agreed with the Sheriff that they were dangerous in the wrong hands but asked for leniency because the family were set to go to America to work.

“A conviction would put his travel at risk.” Mr MacColl went on.

Fining Hayward £300, the Sheriff said: “He ought to have known there would be pedestrians on the pavement. He told police he was shining it in front of people.

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