In an earlier post (‘The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) by Queensland Rural Fire Brigades‘ (September 12, 2014)) I discussed the law relating to the use of drones around emergency scenes.
The risk of using drones near an emergency became clear during a recent siege in Victoria where a drone, allegedly being used to gain photos of the police operations, crashed into a power line nearly hitting a police officer. According to the ABC Online the drone operator has been referred to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority for prosecution; see ‘Man who flew drone over Victorian siege fined $850‘ ABC Online, 18 December 2014.
The report says the operator ‘will be fined $850’ suggesting this matter is to be dealt with by way of infringement notice (if the matter had to go to court CASA could not know what the penalty would be). Equally if there is an infringment notice, the accused would have the right to elect to have the matter go before a court if he or she wanted to defend the matter or seek the court’s leniency. Going to court is not, however, risk free as a court can impose a heavier penalty and that a conviction will be recorded, something that does not happen when a person simply pays the ‘on the spot’ fine.