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Sue the noise-makers - Attorney says lawsuit a possible solution to deal with neighbours disturbing the peace

Published:Wednesday | April 25, 2018 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
From left: Dr Sharon East Miles, occupational health adviser; attorney-at-law Hugh Hyman; and Kimberly Sherlock, executive director of the Jamaica Association of the Deaf (JAD), discuss noise issues affecting Jamaicans and possible solutions at the International Noise Awareness Day Symposium organised by the JAD, in association with the Pan American Health Organisation.

Persons who have difficulty functioning properly at home because of excessive and continuous noise next door, caused by insensitive neighbours, can tackle the issue in court.

"You can sue for nuisance if persons are making noise unreasonably and affecting peaceful enjoyment of your property," attorney-at-law Hugh Hyman told The Gleaner following his participation as a panellist at a Jamaica Association of the Deaf (JAD) symposium held yesterday at Pollyanna Caterers and Banqueters in St Andrew. The symposium was held in observance of International Noise Awareness Day under the theme 'Noise Implications: Issues and Solutions'.

Hyman further explained: "However, that (suing) is a question of proof. For instance, if construction is next door and there is constant noise for a prolonged period, action can be taken, especially if somebody is deliberately making prolonged noise outside your property," he said.

Hyman told The Gleaner that sleep deprivation caused far-reaching damage to persons and that it was being overlooked. "People have serious psychological and physiological issues stemming from sleep deprivation, and that is something we need to pay special attention to," he said.

However, Kimberly Sherlock, executive director at the JAD, suggested that before legal action is taken, other methods should be exhausted before the lawsuit comes into play.

"That is a controversial issue. Legal matters are something that can cause more harm than good. You should try other methods before you get to the legal part of it. I believe that for a peaceful life, working it out could help," Sherlock advised.

"The neighbour may be somebody who has lost a particular level of their hearing and may not realise how loud the thing is. But if you believe suing is the solution, then it is for you to decide and be mindful that that approach can cause more harm than good," she added.