Drone haters can share the joy of a Kentucky man who shot down a neighbor’s drone and walked away scot-free, even after admitting to a court he was guilty of the act.
William H. Meredith, aka “drone slayer”, is now declaring victory for all those who have had enough of being bothered by hovering drones.
Kentucky’s Bullitt County Judge Rebecca Ward dismissed a case against Meredith, brought by the drone’s owner David Boggs.
“I think it’s credible testimony that his drone was hovering from anywhere, for two or three times over these people’s property, that it was an invasion of their privacy and that they had the right to shoot this drone,” Judge Ward says.
Boggs is less than pleased with the ruling.
“I’m dumbfounded. I really am,” Boggs says. “I don’t think that the court looked at what really took place here” adding he flew his drone over Merideth’s home at an altitude of 200 feet and hadn’t hovered.
“I just want him to do the right thing. His neighbors, he knows, everybody knows that no way was we under 100 and something feet. That never happened,” Boggs says. “And so if they said, then they’re not telling the truth.”
Experts at University of Louisville’s Speed School of Engineering experts say the court case has set a legal precedent and they expect to see more similar cases and outcomes.
Adrian Laud, Associate Professor of computer engineering and computer science says Adrian Lauf says “People are maybe not quite sure of where the boundaries are while they’re waiting for the law to catch up.”
Recent bad press about drones is pressuring drone manufacturers and the FAA to make the rules clear.
“If we practice more common sense, we probably wouldn’t have as many shotguns shooting drones down, nor would we have people who feel threatened,” he says.
Meredith, who also had been charged with using a firearm in a residential neighborhood dismissed, says “I feel good. I feel vindicated. Police told me there was nothing they could do about it, nobody would do anything about it, so I did something about it,” adding the drone was invading his privacy. “I was being watched.”
But Boggs, who claims his witnesses were not allowed to take the stand, says the case is far from over.
He has the opportunity to appeal his case in front of a grand jury and says he is eager to do so.
“This is a victory for him today, I guess. But it’s far from over,” Boggs says.
There is no word yet from the anti-gun lobby as to whether they will support Boggs.