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Laser light incident man appears in court

South Africa

By Kamini Padayachee

A man who was arrested for shining a laser light at the Durban beachfront, which temporarily blinded a helicopter pilot, has made a brief appearance in the Durban Magistrate's Court.

Yusuf Ebrahim, 35, was arrested on Saturday. Police had said that he was going to appear in court on Tuesday but it has emerged that he appeared in one of the special World Cup courts at the weekend.

Police Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge said the pilot had complained last week that a light from the beachfront fan park was affecting his vision.

"Officers thought the light was coming from the big screen that shows the soccer games, but the service providers involved informed police that the lights shone towards the crowd, not at the sky," Mdunge said.

He said when the light was shone at the helicopter again on Saturday a man was arrested.

Although Ebrahim appeared in the special court, a senior public prosecutor decided it was not a World Cup case.

Ebrahim has been charged under the Civil Aviation Authority Act of South Africa for "performing an act which jeopardises or may jeopardise the safety of an aircraft".

If he is found guilty of the offence he could be sentenced to pay a fine or serve a term of imprisonment.

He was released on warning and will appear in court in July.

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