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COPFS

Laser Pen Attacks (R009145)

Freedom of Information: Laser Pen Attacks (R009145)

Thank you for your e-mail of 1 December 2014 under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) in which you seek the following information:

  • Can you provide data relating to the number of prosecutions (in Scotland) there have been for laser pen attacks on aircraft/at airports preferably covering the period 2012-2014? 

  • Can you also provide the number of Police Scotland reports for prosecution the CPS has received?

Enquiries have been conducted and I can confirm that information is held in relation to your request.

Prosecutions in relation to laser pen attacks on aircrafts can be raised as a contravention of the statutory Air Navigation Order 2009 or alternatively under the common law offence of culpable and reckless conduct.

A search of our electronic systems in relation to both offences identified a total of 5 reported cases having been received from the police where the incidents related to aircrafts, for the period 2012-2014. Two of these cases related to 2012/13 and three related to 2013/14.

In line with COPFS policy, all matters were considered for solemn proceedings, meaning the cases would be prosecuted on indictment and heard before a Sheriff and jury.

I have provided further detail below as to the outcome of the 5 reported matters.

2012/13

For 2012/13, out of the 2 reported cases, no further action was taken in relation to one matter, which concerned a contravention of the statutory offence. This was on the instruction of Crown Counsel, who are the senior lawyers in Crown Office and who have particular expertise in these types of cases. Following careful consideration there was deemed to be insufficient admissible evidence to continue with a prosecution.

I can confirm that solemn proceedings were raised in relation to the second matter, which concerns a contravention of the common law offence, and this case remains ongoing at present.

2013/14

For 2013/14, out of the 3 reported cases, no further action was taken in relation to one matter. This concerned a charge of culpable and reckless conduct. Following careful consideration the view was taken that there was insufficient evidence to prove in law the necessary criminal recklessness.

I can confirm that solemn proceedings have been raised in relation to the second matter, involving a contravention of the common law offence, and this case remains ongoing at present.

In relation to the third matter, solemn proceedings were also raised and the accused was convicted of a contravention of the Air Navigation Order 2009 & the Civil Aviation Act 1982.

Accordingly, there have been a total of 3 criminal prosecutions covering the total period 2012-2014.