Man caught dangerously shining laser beams at drivers

A TOOWOOMBA man who flashed a laser beam at passing motorists didn't know possessing the lights was illegal.

But with a fine and a stern word from a city magistrate, Christopher Clem Barham has learned his expensive lesson.

Police were called to the Bridge St home where Barham, 24, was living about 8pm on November 18 last year after reports he had been shining the laser beams at passing drivers.

Officers found two "high-powered" laser pointers which were seized, police prosecutor Natalie Bugden told the Toowoomba Magistrates Court.

Senior Constable Bugden said Barham told police he was unaware it was illegal to possess them, and he was issued a notice to appear in court.

Barham yesterday pleaded guilty to the charge as well as a second charge when he was seen by patrolling police screeching his tyres on a suburban street last August.

Snr Const. Bugden said the officers had watched as Barham, driving a black Holden ute, accelerated while turning right onto North St about 8.50pm on August 17.

Screeching the tyres and creating a thick plume of smoke while turning the corner, police intercepted the vehicle a short distance away when Barham said the car had "kicked out" from him before he corrected it.

The vehicle was seized for a number of days, she said.

Solicitor Brad Skuse, for Barham, said his client lived and worked in Toowoomba and had no criminal history before the offences.

Mr Skuse said Barham, 23, admitted he had accelerated through the intersection but that it was a "minor kick-out" by the vehicle.

He said his client spoke with police when he was pulled over a short distance away from the corner.

With regards to the lasers, Mr Skuse said Barham had been unaware of the issues surrounding possessing the items.

"They're potentially very dangerous," Magistrate Damian Carroll said.

Mr Skuse agreed to the potential dangers of the lasers, but submitted his client had been shining them into the park and inadvertently hit passing vehicles.

Mr Carroll ordered the two lasers be forfeited to the Crown before fining Barham $800 for the two charges.

Noting his lack of criminal history and young age, Mr Carroll ordered no conviction be recorded.



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