Court finds planespotter guilty

Johannesburg - The Boksburg Magistrate's Court on Friday found planespotter Julian Swift guilty of illegally possessing a radio receiver and using it to listen to air traffic communications, the editor of the SA Flyer magazine said.

"He was found guilty on the two charges...and ordered to pay R5 000 or spend 10 months in jail," Guy Leitch said.

Swift, 52, was arrested at OR Tambo International Airport in February last year after officials saw him taking photos of landing planes.

He was found with a radio receiver that cannot transmit but is still illegal without a radio license under the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act.

The Independent Communications Authority of SA requires an operator of a receiver to qualify as a radio amateur.

Leitch said air traffic communications were easily accessible via internet live-streaming or at the High Flyers Bar at the end of OR Tambo's airstrip.

Swift, therefore, was accessing information which was freely available and should never have been charged.

Planespotting is the observation and logging of an aircraft's registration numbers as a hobby. In many countries, planespotters co-operate with police in reporting anything suspicious as a measure to target terrorism.
 

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
The ANC's leadership race is heating up. Who do you think will be elected party president at Nasrec in December?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has got it in the bag
7% - 597 votes
I foresee a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa
83% - 7231 votes
Don’t discount a Zweli Mkhize win
10% - 907 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.72
+0.7%
Rand - Pound
20.19
+0.1%
Rand - Euro
17.57
-0.2%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.47
+1.4%
Rand - Yen
0.12
+0.8%
Gold
1,709.66
+0.6%
Silver
20.95
+1.2%
Palladium
2,315.22
+4.1%
Platinum
925.95
+2.4%
Brent Crude
88.86
+4.2%
Top 40
59,611
+3.0%
All Share
66,070
+2.9%
Resource 10
64,192
+4.1%
Industrial 25
79,708
+2.8%
Financial 15
14,059
+1.8%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE