Ulladulla man avoids conviction over use of laser pointer in Wollongong

An Ulladulla man has avoided a criminal conviction after pleading guilty to using a high powered laser pointer at Wollongong railway station two months ago.

Police from the transport command were patrolling the station around 5pm on May 21 when they saw Anthony Vella shining a green light on the station’s administration building.

As they approached him the officers saw Vella put a device into his pocket. However, when asked to produce it, he immediately pulled it out and presented it to police, telling them it was a laser pointer.

“I was using it to see how far it went,” he said.

“I wasn’t using it in a malicious way”.

Court documents said when police tested the device it was clearly visible on a building wall approximately 500 metres away.

Officers confiscated the item and charged Vella with using a laser pointer in a public place.

In court on Tuesday, Vella’s lawyer said the 20-year-old’s brother had purchased the item as a gift for him overseas, and he’d only had it for two days before the incident.

He also confirmed Vella had not been aware there was a law against possessing laser pointers in public, however conceded ignorance was no defence to the charge.

Magistrate Susan McGowan found the offence proven but did not record a conviction owing to his prior good character and lack of malicious intent in his use of the device.