French court rules against anti-youth device
Court in France's Brittany region Wednesday ordered the owner of a local holiday home to take down a controversial device.SAINT-BRIEUC, France, April 30, 2008 - A court in France's Brittany region Wednesday ordered the owner of a local holiday home to take down a controversial device which disperses youths by emitting a high-pitched noise.
Developed by a British inventor, the "Mosquito" emits an irritating pulse
that most people under 20 can hear but almost nobody over 30 can.
The French court ruled in favour of a group of shopkeepers from the seaside
town of Pleneuf Val-Andre, who took legal action after the device was fitted
on a local house in March to prevent youth vandalism.
Several residents claimed to have suffered sudden headaches since it was
installed, while children were seen covering their ears as they walked by the
house, in the town centre.
According to the traders' lawyer Jacky Voisin, the court backed their claim
that the device caused "abnormal disruption" and auditory discomfort for
The "Mosquito"'s creator Howard Stapleton says he has sold around 4,000
units in Europe and North America, including in France where it has been
rolled out under the name "Beethoven".
The device has provoked protests from several civil liberties groups, while
some 7,000 people signed an Internet petition to ban it in Europe, although
the European Commission has said it would not introduce a ban.
Stapleton says he supports regulation on its use, insisting he "never
intended it to make kid-free zones."
[AFP / Expatica]