Two teens accused of shining a laser at the police Eagle helicopter in Auckland will defend the allegation at trial.

Joshua O'Hare-Knight and James Spiers appeared at Auckland District Court today.

Each faces a charge of unnecessarily endangering an aircraft which carries a maximum sentence of 12 months in prison.

Police allege the pair were at a house party in Mt Albert last May when they pointed a laser at the police helicopter as it flew over looking for a stolen car.


The pilot then hovered over the house, where police found a laser pen. The pair were arrested soon after.

O'Hare-Knight and Spiers had applied for a discharge without conviction but Judge Allison Sinclair told O'Hare-Knight's lawyer Rosemary Thomson today: "I can tell you in a word: No.''

The defendants' lawyers indicated their clients would go to trial and the men were bailed to reappear next month.

Pilots today called for a ban on the importing of class 3 lasers amid a rise in the number being aimed at aircraft.

New Zealand Airline Pilots Association president Glen Kenny said laser strike were at best a distraction and at work can cause temporary blindness or permanent eye damage.

"And at a critical phase of flight, on approach and close to landing; this is extremely dangerous'' Mr Kenny said.

The Labour Party is supporting the call.

Transport safety spokesman Iain Lees-Galloway said in the last year there had been 100 recorded incidents where lasers had been pointed at cockpits and impaired pilot's vision.


"The current penalty of 12 months imprisonment or a fine of up to $10,000 for directing a laser at an aircraft in flight is proving an inadequate deterrent.''


* Pravikash Chandra, 18, is facing four charges of endangering transport, each carrying a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison. He appeared at the Manukau District Court last month

* In March 2011 a 17-year-old was charged with reckless diresregard for the safety of a police helicopter after he pointed a green laser at the Eagle helicopter

* A 19-year-old was charged with endangering transport after aiming a laser pen at the police helicopter in December 2010. The charges were dropped because of the accused's "good character'' and personal circumstances

* Vladimir Maricic aimed a laser he bought over the internet into the cockpit of a plane near Wellington Airport in 2008. Maricic said he was trying to see how far the laser would reach. He was sentenced to 200 hours community service.