December 2013: Spanish Pianist Escapes Seven-Year Prison Sentence for Noise PollutionDecember 2013: Spanish Pianist Escapes Seven-Year Prison Sentence for Noise Pollution
Pianist Laia Martin found not guilty of noise pollution and causing psychological damage to neighbour
A SPANISH court has acquitted a 28-year-old concert pianist on charges of causing noise pollution and psychological damage to a neighbour.
The court in northeastern Girona absolved professional pianist Laia Martin and her parents of both charges, according to a written ruling.
The trial this month caused a storm of ridicule and disbelief when prosecutors sought a sentence of seven years. They later reduced this to 20 months. Ms Martin's neighbour, Sonia Bonsom, complained the pianist practiced five days a week for eight hours at a time between 2003 and 2007 in an apartment building in the nearby town of Puigcerda. Ms Bonsom told the court she now hated pianos so much she can't even stand to see them in movies.
The court said it found Ms Bonsom's claims unreliable and exaggerated. It said there was no proof that Ms Martin's playing surpassed the 30-decibel limit laid down for musical instruments in the town - as the prosecution claimed - or that the playing was the direct cause of Ms Bonsom's problems.
Ms Martin's parents were attached to the case when they carried out soundproofing work twice, but this failed to quell Ms Bonsom's complaints.
A normal conversation produces 55-60 decibels, with noise in a typical Spanish bar reaching 65-70 decibels.
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