RCMP announces conviction for dangerous operation of an aircraft

October 25, 2018
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

News release

In what is believed to be the first prosecution of this type of charge, the Yellowknife RCMP, together with its partners, Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) are making the public aware of the serious consequences of the unsafe operation of a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS).

September 2017, RCMP received several complaints of an RPAS flying in the vicinity of 54th Street, and surrounding areas. Complainants expressed concern in observing the RPAS in relation to incoming aircraft to Yellowknife Airport. Yellowknife RCMP began several investigations, and rolled them into one main investigation when it was determined the reports were related to a single operator. On September 18, 2017, RCMP took possession of the RPAS due to safety concerns in proximity to the airport. The investigation continued.

Mr. Toufic Chamas was charged with one count of dangerous operation of an aircraft, contrary to section 249(1)(c) of the Criminal Code. The PPSC conducted the prosecution in Territorial Court in Yellowknife. Mr. Chamas pleaded guilty on September 18, 2018. On October 25, he was fined $3,000 and was prohibited from flying an aircraft for three years, the maximum prohibition for a first offence.

While this is the first conviction on this type of charge regarding unsafe operation of an RPAS, this is not the first time RCMP have witnessed, or received reports about this type of activity.

"The public is reminded they need to know how to operate these types of aircraft safely and legally. Transport Canada holds the mandate for this activity, and there is a lot of good information available on the Transport Canada website. RCMP can enter into an investigation of this type to enforce the regulations, but we would prefer that the public fly the aircraft in a safe manner at all times" states Inspector Alex Laporte, Yellowknife RCMP Detachment Commander.

The successful investigation, charge and conviction was made possible by the government departments working closely together. The RCMP thanks their partners at PPSC for their contributions.


Contact information

Marie York-Condon
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Media Relations
Northwest Territories RCMP – Yellowknife, NT
Office: (867)765.3709

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