Charges withdrawn against man accused of shining laser at York police chopper
Richmond Hill man was facing four counts, including drug-related charge
An earlier version of this article named a Richmond Hill man accused of shining a laser pointer at a police helicopter while it was in the air responding to a weapons call.
York Regional Police have since confirmed that all charges in the case were withdrawn as of Sept. 11, 2014.
As a result, the man's name has been removed from the story.
York Regional Police say all charges have been withdrawn against a Richmond Hill man charged in July 2013 with allegedly shining a laser pointer at a police helicopter while it was in the air responding to a weapons call.
York Regional Police said the Air2 helicopter was surveying the area of Carville Road and Yonge Street at approximately 1 a.m. ET Sunday, July 21, 2013, when a bright green light started to shine into the rotorcraft from a residential home.
"The pilot encountered several laser strikes and took evasive action for the safety of the crew and the aircraft," police said in a news release.
Video surveillance from the helicopter shows police zooming in to determine the exact address of the home on Essex Avenue, near Newkirk Road and Major Mackenzie Drive.
A search warrant was executed and police said they seized the laser along with "drug-related items."
The following charges were laid against the then-19-year-old:
- Endangering the security of persons on board an aircraft in flight.
- Unlawfully projecting bright light into navigable airspace.
- Mischief endangering life.
- Possession of cannabis.
Const. Andy Pattenden of York Regional Police confirmed Monday that all four charges were withdrawn as of Sept. 11, 2014.
He couldn't expand on why the charges were withdrawn.
Health Canada says that only a split second look into a laser point can result in a condition known as flash blindness, similar to the effect experienced when exposed to flash photography.
Police have said the result can be serious for a pilot flying over a populated residential neighbourhood.
"Those who are aiming these pointers at our aircraft are putting lives in danger, not only in the aircraft, but also on the ground," police said.