The news comes two days later oligarch’s son Andrey Yakunin was acquitted of flying a drone on Svalbard.
The man in his 50s is also the first to be acquitted by the court for flying over the Norwegian mainland.
Friday too another Russian drone pilot is released from prisonafter being convicted for the first time by the Oslo District Court.
The man in his 50s told the trial that he he was on a business trip for his employer in the Russian authorities. He was on his way to Svalbard, where he was to inspect mines in the Russian settlement of Barentsburg, he said.
Here is some of the footage from the drone flight of the acquitted man in Kirkenes:
The man pleaded not guilty and thought the information from the Norwegian authorities was not good enough. However, he acknowledged flying the drone over Norwegian soil. The man flew the drone on Oct. 13 in Kirkenes. He has been arrested at Tromsø airport the following day. He was presented in custody on Saturday 15 October and has been in custody ever since.
The trial took place in the District Court of Nord-Troms and Senja in Tromsø at the end of November.
The man explained in court that his employer,
Pa engelskFederal Service for Environmental, Technology and Nuclear Supervision
” data-term=”a Russian regulatory body”>a Russian environmental, technological and nuclear regulatory bodypaid for the trip.
– Hobby drone
The man said he has photography and drone flying as hobbies.
– When I realized that I had done something that was forbidden for citizens of Russia, I was very scared. I don’t quite remember what I did then, the man said in court about when the police approached and then arrested him.
He went on to say that “not in his wildest imagination” could he have imagined that flying a drone as a hobby would be illegal for him in Norway.
The prosecution had no evidence that the man may have been in Norway for the purpose of espionage or intelligence.
However, PST has called for prison sentences for the man.
– It is important to mark this with unconditional imprisonment to avoid further cases of drone flying by Russian citizens, police lawyer Kathrine Tonstad told NRK during the trial.
I think PST can appeal
The man’s defender, Ola Larsen, has sought acquittal for the man. He argued that if he were to be convicted, he should receive a lighter sentence than other Russians who have been convicted so far in similar cases.
This is because man’s drone flight was less extensive. He had only flown the drone twice on the same date.
– I think this was as expected, seen in light of the decision in the Yakunin case, Larsen told NRK on Friday.
He hasn’t been able to speak to the Russian yet, but he thinks he’s happy with the acquittal.
– My client will probably be very happy with the decision.
Yakunin’s acquittal it was immediately challenged by the prosecutor. Larsen does not think it improbable that they will also appeal the acquittal in this case.
Other drone pilots are free
At the end of November, the Russian Vitaly Rustanovich became sentenced to 120 days in prison for flying drones in the District Court of Oslo.
According to the verdict, Rustanovitch had flown a drone 47 times in Norway between August 27 and October 11. He believes the verdict is wrong and has appealed. One the NRK law professor he spoke to believes the case could be heard in the Supreme Court.
Plus it is another man was convicted by Hordaland District Court. She received a 90 day suspended sentence.
In the trial in Tromsø, police lawyer Kathrine Tonstad said 90 days should be a minimum for such an offence.
This is to prevent other similar incidents from happening.
Last week also saw what is arguably the most controversial of the drone court cases. Here it is Russian billionaire and son of oligarch Andrey Yakunin has been indicted fly his drone on a cruise to Svalbard.
He was acquitted and met the press in Oslo on Thursday evening.