Effective 27 July 2010, legislative amendments to the Police Offences Act 1935 (section 15F) relating to ‘Laser Pointers’ provides that “a person must not, without lawful excuse (proof of which lies on that person) possess, carry or use a laser pointer in a public place” and “a person must not, without lawful excuse (proof of which lies on that person) by means of a laser pointer, intentionally or recklessly direct a laser beam at any person, animal, vehicle, vessel or aircraft”.
A fine could be imposed for either offence, and or imprisonment of up to 12 months for the offence of directing a laser beam from a laser pointer.
A “lawful excuse” includes the:
- Pursuit of a lawful occupation, duty or activity in which laser pointers have a generally recognised application.
- Participation in a lawful sport, recreation or entertainment in which laser pointers have a generally recognised application.
- Use of laser pointers for the specific lawful purpose for which they were manufactured.
- Lawful display or exhibition of laser pointers.
- Use of laser pointers under and in accordance with a valid licence under the Radiation Protection Act 2005.
This means that you may own a laser pointer, keep it in your home or at a private place, but cannot carry, possess or use it in a public place without a lawful excuse.
In addition, you are not permitted to point a laser pointer at a person, animal, vehicle, vessel or aircraft, either intentionally or recklessly and whether or not you are in a public or private place, unless you have a lawful excuse.
However, if you need to possess, carry or use a laser pointer to go about your lawful business, for example if you are a surveyor, astronomer, teacher, medical professional or if you are in the construction and mining industry, you may continue to do so in both public and private places.
Police have been provided with certain authorities to stop, detain and search people, vehicles, vessels and aircraft and to seize laser pointers if necessary. In addition, if people target people or vehicles, including aircraft or vessels from a private dwelling, police may enter a private residence to search and seize the laser pointer without a warrant.
Further information is available on www.thelaw.tas.gov.au by accessing the Police Offences Act 1935 (section 15F).