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Widow fined for drink at husband's graveside

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Widow fined for drink at husband's graveside
A case in France shows bubbly and cemeteries may not mix. Photo: Xavier68/Gaby Av/Flickr
11:00 CET+01:00
A French widow, who says she was simply honouring her husband's dying wish by sharing a few glasses of champagne with family and friends at his graveside for his birthday, was fined by unsympathetic police for disturbing the peace, according to reports on Monday.

The small gathering at a Frenchman’s grave on his birthday was supposed to be a poignant occasion but it was too much of a "ruckus" for police in a tiny village in south-western France.

Josiane Couston brought together four friends, one of her sons and her three-year-old grandson for her deceased husband’s birthday on July 17th, 2013 in a cemetery in Les Angles. The emotional meet-up had been one of the last wishes of 61-year-old Jean-Luc Couston as he lay dying in September 2011, French paper La Provence reported.

So the group gathered, with a glasses of champagne in hand, to share stories and reminisce about their loved one on his birthday. But someone at the cemetery that day didn’t approve of the "commotion" created by the gathering and called the police.

Three local police officers turned up at the cemetery, and instead of simply warning the group or asking them to move on, they informed Josiane it was illegal to drink there and issued her with a fine for disturbing the peace.

Though the fine is just €38 Josiane’s lawyer said she has refused  to accept it.

“Josiana is fighting the ticket because, beyond the fine, it’s a question of principle for a woman, who with no bad intentions, honoured the last wish of her husband,” the woman’s lawyer Emilie Chapuis told La Provence.

SEE ALSO: French woman wins right to marry dead fiancé

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