The mother of an eight-year-old boy whose eyesight was damaged by a laser pen has said she is “over the moon” after seeing the business owner who sold the item sentenced to 240 hours’ community service.
Angela Marshall from Bushey Heath first spoke to the JC in January, after her son, Jonathan, was left with a damaged retina when he played with a laser pen he bought at his school’s Christmas fair.
Mrs Marshall launched a campaign to ban laser pointers in the UK, and hold those responsible for trading them accountable. She enlisted the help of local MP Oliver Dowden to help raise awareness of the dangers of the lasers.
The laser pointer that damaged Jonathan’s eye was found to have a power output of 100 milliwatts; the legal maximum output in the UK is one miliwatt.
After the issue was tabled in Parliament, Hertfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards department took Lynsey McClure, who owns Busy Happy People in Surrey and was responsible for importing the lasers into the UK, to court.
Last week, Ms McClure pleaded guilty at St Albans’ Magistrates Court to nine counts relating to the General Product Safety Regulations Act 2005 and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations Act 2008, and was handed 240 hours’ community service – the maximum given before a prison sentence.
Mrs Marshall said she hoped the verdict would ensure that toy suppliers were more vigilant about the products they imported, and that parents would also be more careful when buying the items.
“Jonathan is a very lucky boy,” she said. “There is some scarring at the back of his eye; there will always be a hole. But the cells are slowly growing over it. He is young but also wears glasses – otherwise it could have been a very different story.
“But what is frightening is that there are still 200 pointers loose, and we have no way to trace them. I just hope the same thing doesn’t happen to any other children.”