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Saturday 2 December 2023 Dublin: 2°C
Alamy Stock Photo File image of a 'No Drone Zone' sign at Dublin Airport

Prosecutors granted two months to prepare for trial of man accused of flying drone at Dublin Airport

It is alleged that Eric Brills (50) unlawfully interfered with the operation of air navigation facilities at Dublin Airport by operating a drone in the 300-metre critical area.

PROSECUTORS HAVE BEEN granted another two months to prepare the book of evidence for the trial of a man who denies flying a drone which allegedly interfered with the operation of Dublin Airport.

Eric Brills, 50, of Holywell Dale, Swords, Dublin, was arrested in February and charged under the Air Navigation and Transport Act.

It is alleged that on 24 January, at Naul Road, Cloghran, Co Dublin, he unlawfully and intentionally interfered with the operation of air navigation facilities at Dublin Airport by operating a drone in the 300-metre critical area, such act being likely to interfere with the safety of aircraft.

He is on bail with a condition not to use drones.

He has already indicated he wishes to have trial before a judge and jury in the Circuit Court, which has wider sentencing powers.

At Mr Brills’s latest appearance at Dublin District Court, the case was adjourned until 2 February for the prosecutions to complete the book of evidence.

It must be served on the accused before the District Court grants a trial order.

Under the legislation, the offence, on conviction on indictment, can result in a mandatory sentence.

At his first hearing, in February the court was told the accused made no reply to the charge.

Detective Garda Ledwith said he had no objection to bail with conditions including one that Mr Brills must not “fly any UAS,” which means unmanned aircraft systems, also known as drones.

Mr Brills provided gardaí with his phone number and has to be contactable at all times, reside at his current address, surrender his passport and not apply for other travel documents.

Legal aid was granted after the court heard the accused was employed but earned less than €500 weekly.

It is illegal to fly drones within five kilometres of the airport; drones of certain sizes must be registered, and each device must have a unique digital fingerprint for identification.

Mr Brills’ case is the first of two involving alleged unlawful drone flights too close to the airport to come before the courts this year.

In an unrelated prosecution, Ainis Guzauskus, 41, of Ridgewood Close, Swords, Dublin, was charged under Section 43 of the Air Navigation and Transport Act, 1988.

The alleged offence is knowingly causing a false alarm by flying an unmanned aerial system (drone) into the critical area of Dublin Airport at Naul Road, which interfered with the operation of an aerodrome on 2 July 2, 2022.

He has not indicated a plea and is back in court in the new year.