File photo: ATHIT PERAWONGMETHA/Reuters.
File photo: ATHIT PERAWONGMETHA/Reuters.

Afraid for his life, Durban pastor attacks neighbour’s drone

By Mervyn Naidoo Time of article published Jun 2, 2019

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Durban - When a drone hovered outside a Durban pastor’s bedroom window, he feared criminals were using it to spy on him. It was only after he hit it to the ground with a stick that he learned the drone belonged to his neighbour, who had been using it to check on a water leak.

This led to a commotion between the two and the matter is now before court.

The 56-year-old pastor has sought a protection order against his neighbour and the matter came briefly before Verulam Court magistrate Vallaraman Kathuravaloo this week.

The neighbours were asked to file their responses by June 18, before the matter returned to court in July.

In his application affidavit, the pastor said his neighbours had been harassing him and his family since 2011.

He said tensions between them increased when he refused to give his neighbours a letter stating he had accepted the wall they had constructed, which had encroached 2m into his property.

“I refused and the building inspector did not pass their building.

“In January, February and March, they repeatedly harassed and abused us and asked that we take ownership of the boundary wall, to which I said no,” said the pastor.

On the day the drone hovered outside his bedroom, the pastor said he tried to see who was in control of it.

“There was nobody in sight.

“I saw this illegal flying drone in my private property and I considered it a serious and dangerous threat. The drone did not look like a toy, but a sophisticated technical drone with capabilities. I’m a military chaplain, I know its dangers.”

The pastor said if he had seen who controlled it, he would have asked them to immediately remove it.

He said he was constantly mindful of the drone crashing into his window and causing damage or even death, so he was careful not to make contact with it.

With a stick, he “tapped” the drone and it fell to the ground.

He then went into his house and told his wife about the drone and she also confirmed that she saw it.

The pastor heard a “commotion” outside, it was his neighbours. His neighbour told him that his son was taking pictures to “see the water flow”.

“I told him that I saw it as a potential danger and an invasion of my privacy and I tapped it down,” he said, adding that that was when the neighbour’s son swore at him and the father argued with him.

The pastor said he walked away and alerted his lawyer, who promised to attend to the matter.

Two days later, the pastor claimed that his neighbour’s son cornered him outside his home with his car and he was then unable to drive off to a church commitment with his wife.

He had to call police for assistance.

Attorney Mervin Dorasamy, who represents the pastor, said: “My client has rights under the constitution. He took the necessary steps in line with the rights accorded to him. He believes he acted correctly in warding off a potential ‘attack’ from the drone. The drone was sophisticated and aimed at intrusion and recording. I hold instructions to claim for appropriate damages.”

When approached, the neighbour refused to comment.

Sunday Tribune

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