Man who shot down drone cleared of all charges

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Earlier this year, William Merideth from Kentucky, United States was charged with criminal mischief and wanton endangerment after using a firearm to destroy a drone flying over his property. After a complaint by the drone’s owner, David Boggs, Merideth was arrested and sent to jail for a night.

The drone – a DJI Phantom 3 – was shot down in July. Boggs claimed that he was entitled to fly over to Merideth’s property, claiming he was taking pictures of a friend’s house and that the drone was more than 60 metres in the air which would put him clear of US laws.

On the basis of that, the judge threw the case out of court.

Merideth, on the other hand, stands by his decision to protect his property, and believes that the judge has mishandled the case, claiming the drone infringed on his right to privacy, especially as his 16-year-old daughterregularly bathes in the home’s pool. He says he’s planning on taking Boggs to a civil court now.


The DJI Phantom 3 Advanced. Its retail price starts at around R17 000.
The DJI Phantom 3 Advanced. Its retail price starts at around R17 000.

What would the situation be in South Africa, where we all joked that people would pick up shotguns if drone-based delivery services began in the country?

According to new regulations that came into effect on July 1st of this year, no drone is allowed to fly within 50 metres of a building or within a 10 kilometre radius of an airport. There are others stipulations about where and when a drone can be flown, and a map has been created to make this a little easier to follow.

If you want to learn a bit more about drone laws in South Africa, we also suggest you read our feature looking at the myths surrounding them.

In other anti-drone measures; a “gun” that projects radio waves to shut down unwanted drones has been created. If this so-called DroneDefender was used in place of the regular firearm, Merideth may have never been charged.

[Via – ARS Technica, Image – CC 2.0 BY Lee]


Clinton Matos

Clinton Matos

Clinton has been a programmer, engineering student, project manager, asset controller and even a farrier. Now he handles the maker side of