A Lacombe man charged with firing a laser beam at an Edmonton police helicopter testified Thursday he had no intention of temporarily blinding the pilot.
Alvin Bautista, 38, is charged with interfering with the safe operation of an aircraft under the Federal Aeronautics Act.
Bautista returns to Edmonton provincial court Feb. 3 to set a date for continuation of the trial.
He told court on the night of Aug. 19, 2009, he was testing the device for his son who told him it didn’t shine brightly all the time.
Bautista told court he shined it at some nearby trees and pointed it up at the sky once.
The Edmonton Police Services helicopter pilot testified he was “bathed within a green light” as the helicopter hovered about 300 metres above the ground near the Whitemud freeway and 106th Street.
Const. Randy Chaulk said the first laser hit lasted about 40 seconds. It was struck another five or six times when the pilot managed to get his bearings and headed toward the light source.
“It absolutely did affect my ability to fly the aircraft,” Chaulk testified.
A police ground cruiser eventually stopped and arrested Bautista with assistance from the helicopter.
If convicted Bautista could face a maximum fine of $25,000 or 18 months in jail and $5,000 for creating a hazard to aviation.