Paraglider jailed for aviation charge

Last updated 19:01 11/02/2014

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A paraglider who crashed into a tree in Mt Maunganui's Marine Parade has been sentenced to nine months' jail. 

Mark Wallace Poole, 53, was sentenced in the Tauranga District Court today after being found guilty on a Civil Aviation charge and a breach of protection order charge.

He is already serving two years and one month in prison for cultivating cannabis, the SunLive website reported. The terms are cumulative.

After a defended hearing in Tauranga, Poole was last month found guilty of operating a paraglider in a manner that caused unnecessary danger to others.

The charges were laid by the Civil Aviation Authority after Poole clipped a tree and fell into Marine Parade while paragliding off Mauao on June 17, 2012.

Poole had earlier admitted to one count of not holding a current paraglider's permit, and one count of operating a paraglider without a warrant of fitness.

The judge ruled Poole breached CAA regulations and Tauranga City Council rules by choosing a landing approach crossing between the Twin Towers apartments and the Norfolk Pines along the beachfront.

Poole had said strong turbulence caused his canopy to snag a tree, dropping him 6 metres on to the road.

Poole, who represented himself today, told the court that flying was his life and all he had left.

"Giving me a period of time where I can't fly will cause me a lot of stress," he said.

"I have already lost my family and my home. I just want to fly."

Judge Peter Rollo sentenced Poole to nine months' jail.

He also disqualified Poole from flying any aircraft for 12 months.


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- © Fairfax NZ News

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