Judge reserves decision in paraglider case

By Sandra Conchie -

A Tauranga judge has reserved his decision in the case of a man accused of deliberately risked endangering the public after his paraglider hit a tree and he fell 6-8m onto the road.

Experienced paraglider Mark Wallace Poole, 53, crash-landed about 4.45pm on June 17, 2012 opposite the Oceanside Twin Towers Apartments on Marine Parade, as he came into land after jumping off the northern face of Mauao summit.

Poole, whose judge-alone hearing was held on Friday, has denied a charge of operating a paraglider in a manner that caused unnecessary danger to other people, and an alternative charge of operating a paraglider in a careless manner.

He earlier admitted not holding a current pilot's certificate and operating a paraglider without a warrant of fitness.

Poole claimed he hit strong turbulence or "bad air'' as he came into land, and denies deliberately taking a flight path that brought him between the two towers and the Norfolk pines.

Civil Aviation Authority alleges Poole deliberately took an illegal flight path, flying between the twin towers and the trees, both contrary to Civil Aviation and Tauranga City Council rules.

Another experienced local paraglider who saw Poole crash-land said it appeared to him that Poole had deliberately flown over the road rather than intending to stay on the beach side of the trees.

Judge Peter Rollo, who reserved his decision, will deliver his judgement on February 3.

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