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'Noisy' pianist faces seven years in prison

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'Noisy' pianist faces seven years in prison
File photo: Brian Richardson
13:38 CET+01:00
A professional pianist from Spain is facing seven and a half years behind bars after a neighbour complained her constant practising had caused her psychological damage.
Pianist Laia M. is also facing a four-year ban from playing any kind of musical instrument and could be slapped with a fine of €10,800 ($13,400) as well.
 
The potential punishment comes at the end of a ten-year feud over the musician's exacting practice regime, Spain's El País reported on Tuesday. 
 
Laia's neighbour Sonia M. says the young musician  played for eight hours a day, five days a week from 2003 to 2007.  This disrupted her sleeping patterns and led to serious anxiety issues. 
 
Eventually she and her family were even forced to move home to escape the noise, Sonia B. claims.
 
Now a judge in the northern Spanish city of Girona is putting the pianist — and her family — centre stage.
 
The prosecution wants both Laia M. and her parents put away. 
 
The three are staring at a sentence of six years for acoustic contamination and another year and a half for causing psychological damage.
 
But defence lawyers argue the proposed sentence is completely "out of proportion" and that Laia M. never practised 40 hours a week.
 
The pianist's family also say they did everything they could to fix the noise problem, including soundproofing the practice room and the piano itself.
 
They also say they sent their daughter to practice elsewhere.
 
According to them, much of the noise in the building was caused by a supermarket on the ground floor of their apartment building.
 
Sonia B., however, told the court on Monday: "This has caused me a great deal of stress. There was even a moment when I couldn't move my arm because of anxiety."
 
The musician herself remains positive that "justice will prevail" and she will walk away to play another day.
 
The court case is expected to last four days, according to El País.
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