Pianist faces jail term over “psychological damage” caused to neighbor

Complainant suffered “panic attacks and pregnancy problems,” say doctors

Laia M. (l) appeared in a Girona court with her parents to answer charges of “acoustic contamination” filed by prosecutors. / PERE DURAN

A professional pianist is facing a seven-and-a-half-year jail sentence for playing her instrument eight hours a day, five days a week, according to her former neighbor in Puigcerdà, Girona. Prosecutors are seeking the sentence for crimes against the environment — acoustic contamination — and the psychological damage caused to Sonia B. between 2003 and 2007. Defense lawyers for the musician, Laia M., have asked that the case be thrown out, describing the complaint as “completely disproportionate.”

Both the defendant and her parents, who face the same sentence as accessories to the fact, deny the claims of Sonia B., who in turn stated that not only did Laia M.’s mother enter her apartment and concur that the sound of the piano was louder there than in her own home, but also that Laia M. had to be restrained by her father while attempting to hit the defendant.

Medical reports state that Sonia B. suffered hearing damage, panic attacks and problems during her pregnancy as a result of the “environmental auditory stress.” Sonia B. and her family moved to Galicia in 2007.

Laia M. refutes the charges, stating that she could not have been playing the piano when Sonia B. claims, as she was studying outside of Puigcerdà. The defendants also said that they had attempted to soundproof the room containing the piano.

In addition to the sentence, prosecutors are seeking to have Laia M. banned from any profession that involves a piano for four years, a fine of 10,800 euros and damages of 9,900 euros. The trial is expected to conclude this week.

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