Prison sentence for piano playing 'overly stringent'

A Spanish prosecutor's office has conceded that the customary 7 1/2 year prison sentence for noise pollution may be too harsh for a pianist who practised at home.

Neighbour of Spanish pianist claims pyschological damage, stress

A Spanish prosecutor's office has conceded that the customary 7 1/2 year prison sentence for noise pollution may be too harsh for a pianist who practised at home.

The office for the northeastern region of Catalonia said in a statement released late Friday that it was studying a request for a partial pardon for 26-year-old Laia Martin, a professional musician, given that a "prison sentence could be considered overly stringent."

The office had recommended prison earlier in the week after a neighbour — referred to as Sonia B. in the prosecutor's statement — said noise from Martin's five-days-a-week, eight-hour practice sessions had left her with psychological damage, subjected her to great stress and even temporarily forced her to move out.

Martin told reporters gathered outside her house that the neighbour was exaggerating. No musician, however serious, practised eight hours a day, she said.

Marc Molins, the musician's lawyer, said the penalty originally sought by prosecutors "should be reserved for very serious and offensive conduct."

The prosecutor's office had also originally demanded Martin be banned for four years from any profession that uses a piano.