Northern Ireland

Lurgan man who admitted shining a laser at a police helicopter is jailed for three months

Sean McKenna was jailed for pointing a laser at a police helicopter
Sean McKenna was jailed for pointing a laser at a police helicopter Sean McKenna was jailed for pointing a laser at a police helicopter

A CO Armagh man who admitted shining a laser at a police helicopter was jailed for three months yesterday after a judge said there could have been “horrific consequences.”

Jailing 27-year-old Sean McKenna at Craigavon Magistrates Court, District Judge Bernie Kelly told the defendant he was fortunate to be facing her and not “an entirely different charge in the Crown Court.”

The judge said had the police helicopter been taken out of the sky, “there would have been horrific consequences.”

At an earlier hearing McKenna, from the Kilwilke Road in Lurgan, pleaded guilty to two offences, one of using disorderly behaviour at Filbin Crescent in Lurgan and another of directing a laser beam at a PSNI air support unit helicopter on 9 February this year.

A prosecuting lawyer told the court that a police patrol in the Kilwilkie area had a green laser beam shone at their vehicle a number of times at around 6pm.

Half an hour later, the officers were contacted by the police helicopter and told that a green light had been shone at their aircraft several times.

She told the judge the aircraft officers were able to provide a description of the defendant who was seen to “throw something into a front garden.”

McKenna made off and jumped a back fence into a property, she added.

The home owner described McKenna as “distressed” and said he claimed he was suffering an asthma attack.

The Public Prosecution Service lawyer said that when he was arrested, McKenna shouted “Up the Ra” to police and was further arrested for disorderly behaviour.

Defence barrister Barry McKenna conceded that his client “doesn’t have much recollection of the incident,” adding that “alcohol was a feature in all his offending.”

Following a defence application, McKenna was freed on bail pending an appeal of the jail sentence.