• 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
BREAKING
Ten children struck by lightning in Paris park
Photo: AFP

Eleven people including ten children have been injured by lightning during a thunderstorm at Parc Monceau in Paris on Saturday.

What to expect when working in a bar in Paris
Photo: Fabrizio Morrola/Flickr

Fancy the idea of a bar job in Paris? There are a few things you need to know first, writes bartender Lauren Belcher.

Five key tips to opening a bank account in France
Photo: Dave Dugdale/Flickr

Avoid the headaches. Read this before opening a bank account in France.

Afghan migrant killed by lorry in Calais
French riot police guard a truck after migrants tried to mount several trucks near the Eurotunnel, near Calais earlier this year. Photo: AFP

A 25-year-old Afghan migrant was killed by a lorry on a motorway near the French port city of Calais in the early hours of Saturday, according to officials.

French PM Valls stakes political career on union fight
A demonstrator wears a sticker featuring France's Prime Minister Manuel Valls last week in Nantes, western France, during a protest against government planned labour law reforms. Photo: AFP

Engaged in a fierce tug of war with unions and some of his own party over labour reforms, France's embattled Prime Minister Manuel Valls has staked his political career on staring down the crisis.

Which of France's strikes could affect Euro 2016?
Photos: AFP

A series of ongoing strikes in France could continue to affect the country throughout the Euro 2016 tournament, which starts in just two weeks.

Fuel crisis eases as French police unblock depots
Tires on fire in front of an oil depot near the Total refinery of Donges, western France, on Friday. Photo: AFP

After a week of fuel shortages in France, things are improving in time for the weekend.

Opinion - French strikes
'Stop pissing everyone off': French boss to union chief
Philippe Martinez, the head of the CGT union. Photo: AFP

In an open letter to the man attempting to bring France to a standstill, a business owner tells him to stop "living in the past" and stop "pissing everyone off".

Want a '30-hour work week'? Move to Paris (or Lyon)
Lunchtime in Paris? Photo: reynermedia/Flickr

Workers in Paris and Lyon put in the fewest hours out of 71 major cities around the world. Lazy or supremely efficient.

The nations the French love to make fun of the most
Photo: Romain Seignovert

The British are not the French's top target, believe it or not.

National
Which of France's strikes could affect Euro 2016?
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
'You're not welcome': French police chief warns English yobs
How to avoid running out of fuel if you're coming to France
National
It's Neighbours' Day! But what does it all mean?
National
The French fuel crisis for dummies: 27 key questions
National
The trials and tribulations of moving to rural France
National
Five free smartphone apps to help you find petrol in France
National
A complete guide to France's (many) ongoing strikes
Culture
Paris: Street artist makes the Louvre pyramid disappear
Interactive map: Where to find petrol in France
Who is the French union in a 'fight to the death' with the government?
Society
Opinion: Why the French are absolutely right to go on strike
National
Here's why both sides despise France's labour reforms
National
Who is really to blame for the fuel crisis in France?
National
Here are the parts of France hardest hit by the fuel shortages
Travel
It will soon be time to say 'au revoir' to the Paris Metro ticket
Culture
Revealed: The ultimate sex map of France
National
Migrants at Calais camp given dignity in death
International
How good is security at Charles de Gaulle airport?
Culture
How to make a traditional French cassoulet
Culture
IN PICS: Commuter trains in Paris get royal makeover
International
Terror attack 'likeliest cause' of missing EgyptAir plane
International
Who was on board the missing EgyptAir flight from Paris?
2,740
jobs available