Policy & Law
Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but for Rebecca Gallanagh, they've caused nothing but trouble. Gallanagh, a 22-year-old convict, was fined by a UK court this week for decorating her electronic ankle bracelet in fake diamonds — an act that local magistrates described as a "serious offense."
Gallanagh had been forced to wear the bracelet after being convicted of a public order offense in November, for her involvement in a fight outside a Staffordshire nightclub. As part of her punishment, officials ordered her to observe a strict 9PM curfew that the electronic monitor was meant to enforce. Gallanagh insists that they never said anything about decorating the bracelet in shimmery diamonds, but her aesthetic modifications didn't sit well with the monitor's manufacturers, who took her back to court after realizing what she'd done.
"I did it to make myself feel better."
Gallanagh says she was inspired to alter the bracelet by Big Fat Gypsy Weddings — a Channel 4 reality show in which one of the brides "blinged" her own electronic tag. She adds that an employee from Serco Home Affairs, the company that manufactured the bracelet, told her that she could customize it any way she wanted to. "I saw pictures of it online and checked the leaflet, and nowhere did it say I couldn't decorate it.," Gallanagh told The Daily Mail.
But Serco insisted that her alterations had "compromised the integrity" of the device, adding that they could have an impact on its effectiveness. The court agreed, slapping Gallanagh with a £140 ($220) fine.
After her court appearance, Gallanagh told reporters that magistrates had blown the issue out of proportion, and that she had no intention of evading surveillance. "I did it to make me feel better about wearing it," she said. "I was quite proud of it. I like to bling things up, and wear blingy clothes and watches. It just matched my style."
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