Joseph Mark James Corban, 17, ' />
Wine magnate Joe Corban's teenage grandson has been charged with pointing a laser at a helicopter on Friday night.
Joseph Mark James Corban, 17, from Mt Roskill, was charged with reckless disregard for the safety of a police helicopter and appeared before the Auckland District Court yesterday.
He is alleged to have pointed the laser at the Eagle helicopter while playing with a 16-year-old friend.
Corban was allegedly shining a green laser which is often more powerful than red lasers commonly sold in stores.
Joseph is the grandson of Joe Corban, who helped build up Corban's Winemakers. Joe has been awarded the MBE and Fellowship of the Wine Institute of New Zealand for his contribution to the industry.
Joseph's parents were on holiday for the weekend and could not be contacted.
His aunt Michele Carrad was looking after him and would only say: "The police have [gone] completely over the top."
The offence carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.
"It is pretty serious," said Auckland police central shift commander Shane Mulcahy.
"It's obviously not a reasonable thing to do. There's the risk of blinding someone."
Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Bill Sommer said people didn't realise what a hazard lasers can be to aircraft.
Corban was granted bail and will reappear in court tomorrow.
It's the latest in a string of incidents which have prompted police and aviation authorities to remind the public that shining lasers at aircraft is dangerous and illegal.
A passenger plane in Sydney was targeted by a laser this week as it approached Bondi Beach.
In August 2008, Ricky Nikora was charged with aiming a laser beam into the Eagle cockpit as it flew above Auckland. And Bernard Long was given 300 hours' community work for shining a laser at the Arahura and Kaitaki Interislander ferries in 2007.