• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Trial after Frenchman dies downing 56 shots

The Local · 4 May 2015, 11:22

Published: 04 May 2015 11:22 GMT+02:00

Is a bar owner responsible for the death of a client who dies after drinking 56 shots? 

That's what judges in France will have to decide after the owner of a bar in the central city of Clermont-Ferrand stands trial on Monday charged with “manslaughter by willful neglect” after one of his patrons died in breaking the bar’s record for the number of shots drank in one evening.

On one night last October the 57-year-old client, named Renaud, downed a total of 56 shots (shooters) in front of his daughter and friends at a bar called "Le Starter". 

A blackboard in the bar made clients aware that the previous record stood at 55, which the 57-year-old took on the challenge of beating.

That exploit saw him drink 30 shooters in just one minute, which are either straight shots or can be made up of different spirits with mixers. With each shooter including between 20ml and 40ml of hard alcohol it meant the father drank more than a litre of spirits.

After being carried home by his daughter and friends the man later went into cardiac arrest. He was rushed to hospital but died the next day.

Now a French criminal court must decide whether the bar owner is in some way responsible for the death of his patron.

According to reports in BFM TV the father had already downed 14 shots before he decided to go for the record.

According to his daughter the landlord of the bar whispered “only 12 to go” at one point, seemingly encouraging him to carry on.

“It is not known whether he would still be alive if he had not drunk the last 12 shots, but by making down those last shots, he was left with no chance,” said the daughter’s lawyer Antoine Portal.

“It was a case of inciting someone to consume. That’s an extremely serious mistake for a bar owner.”

However this has been denied by the man’s lawyer who said he actually told the man he should stop his quest to break the record.

Lawyer Renaud Portejoie has acknowledged that the board behind the bar making clients aware of the existing record for shooters was “a mistake”, but said “no one forced the client to take on the challenge".

“When you are the owner of a bar and an order has been placed, you cannot always verify who is drinking what. We cannot stand behind every customer,” the bar owner's lawyer told RMC radio.

“The customers are responsible for themselves as are their families and friends.”

The trial comes at a time when France is trying to crack down on binge drinking, the rise of which has been blamed on the influence of drinking habits from Britain and the States.

“Getting dead drunk used to be seen as degrading, now it’s seen as a positive thing,” Laurent Gerbaud, professor of public health at the Clermont Ferrand university hospital told France Info radio at the time ofthe man's death. 

Story continues below…

“We are seeing a new type of competition emerge.”

A recent health bill that was voted through parliament included measures to crack down on those who encourage people, particularly youngsters, to binge drink.

If the bill becomes law, people who encourage minors to drink excessively will face a year behind bars and a €15,000 fine. And anyone who incites others to “drink until drunk” will face up to six months in prison as well as a fine into the thousands.

SEE ALSO: How French health reforms will change your life

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
New app aims to rid Paris pavements of dog poo
Photo: ByeBye Crottoir

No need to watch your step anymore, says this French engineer behind a new app called "Bye Bye Pavement Dog Poo"

Calls in France for English to be ditched as EU language
Photo: AFP

Some in France suggest it's time to end the dominance of English as the EU's working language, now that the UK has voted to leave the union.

Seven tips for selling your house in France
Photo: AFP

After the Brexit referendum there is already talk of British expats in France considering selling up. Here are seven tips put together by an expert.

British businesses in France told to keep calm and carry on
Brits celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday at the British embassy in Paris. Photo: UK in France/Flickr

Brits running their own businesses have been told that despite the Brexit vote, it should be "business as usual".

Paris thieves pilfer luxury watches worth €3 million
Photo: AFP

Another multi-million robbery in the chic heart of Paris.

Price of Paris monthly transport pass to rise
Photo: AFP

Commuting in Paris is set to get pricier.

Opinion - Brexit
Why a Brexit would be a 'windfall' for France
Photo: AFP

A Brexit wouldn't mean the "apocalypse" the doomsdayers are predicting, it would actually be a "tremendous opportunity" for France.

Post Brexit: Paris and London vow to cooperate not compete
Sadiq Khan and Anne Hidalgo vow to work together. Photo: AFP

The mayors of Paris and London have vowed to work together in order to shape the 21st century.

Voters give green light to new airport in western France
Photo: AFP

Will this finally mark the end of years of wrangling and protests?

'We can handle Brexit' insist Hollande and Merkel
Photo: AFP

France and Germany say they are on the same page when it comes to handling the fallout of last week's shock Brexit vote.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Mixed reaction from the French as UK votes for Brexit
National
How Brexit could now scupper that dream move to France
Brexit limbo: What happens next for Brits in France?
Gallery
Ten reasons why you should think about becoming French
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Analysis & Opinion
Brexit: Life for Brits in France 'will get more complicated'
Culture
20 English words that 'should be banished' from French
National
Best Briehaviour: A guide to French cheese etiquette
Features
And the best city in France for expats to live in is...?
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Society
Forget bikes, Paris is set to roll out scooter rentals
National
'We fear for our safety': French police feel the strain
Lifestyle
Why Rennes (and not Paris) is the best city in France for expats to live
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Why are the French losing appetite for baguettes?
Lifestyle
Naturism booms in France as young eager to ditch clothes
Lifestyle
Is working life better in London or Paris?
National
Dear Americans: Please come to Paris
National
It's official (kind of): French work fewest hours in EU
And the best football fans of Euro 2016 in France are?
National
Paris has wettest spring in 100 years and it's hitting morale
Police murders remind France of complexity of terror threat
National
IN PICTURES: Labour law protests in Paris turn ugly
National
Double murder just latest jihadist attack on French police and soldiers
International
French police appear unprepared for hooligan threat at Euro 2016
Sport
An A to Z guide of what to expect in France for Euro 2016
2,730
jobs available