Technology

Court decides wrangle over shot-down drone

Drone
Image caption Drones are becoming popular hi-tech toys for many people

A US court has found in favour of a drone owner who sued a man who shot his hexacopter out of the sky.

The drone, built and flown by Eric Joe, was shot down by Brett McBay in late November, 2014.

Mr McBay claimed the drone was over his property and said he believed it was being used to spy on him.

Mr Joe asked Mr McBay to pay for repairs to the home-built drone and, when he refused, started legal action in California's small claims court.

In legal papers to support his claim, Mr Joe included GPS data which, he said, showed that the machine was hovering over a walnut orchard owned by his parents, not the property of their neighbour Mr McBay, when it was brought down.

In its judgement, the California court found that Mr McBay "acted unreasonably" in shooting the craft whether it was over his property or not, revealed a story about the incident in Ars Technica.

The court awarded Mr Joe $850 (£540) damages but Mr McBay has yet to pay up. If the cash was not handed over by the end of June, Mr Joe said he would take further legal action to get the money.

Mr McBay has not responded to requests for comment from the BBC or other media organisations.

Mr Joe's drone was not the first to be be shot down. There have been several other cases in the US of people shooting drones even though the Federal Aviation Agency has explicitly stated that it is illegal to do so.

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