A sleep-deprived Queensland man who had suffered the noise from a nearby shop alarm has been fined after pleading guilty to ‘wilful damage’ of the alarm, reports the Queensland Daily Mercury. Timothy Clifford Ashby admitted breaking the alarm at a Target storage shed last year, after it sounded for six hours during the night. He also told a Target employee who had arrived to finally deactivate the alarm that he would “break everything” inside the building if it happened again. Magistrate Ross Risson fined the Mr Ashby $100 and ordered him to pay $1221 compensation costs for the damaged alarm system, at the hearing in the Mackay Magistrates Court this week.
The defence claimed that the alarm had been going off periodically for two days and nights, before Mr Ashby decided to take matters into his own hands, and that he was concerned about going to work the following day without getting any sleep.
While Mr Ashby undoubtedly took an ill-advised and indeed illegal course of action, anyone who has been kept awake for sustained periods at night will sympathise with his situation. Noise, along with light, is a key environmental factor that determines sleep quality, and as this case demonstrates, sleep deprivation can cause sufferers to act irrationally.
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