• 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
Grape thieves pilfer what's left of Burgundy wine harvests
Photo: AFP

Fed up with seeing thieves pilfer their precious grapes, vineyard owners in the famous region of Burgundy are taking extreme measures for the first time.

France to clamp down on rip-off home repair workers
All photos: AFP

Ever feel you've been ripped off by a plumber, electrician, or locksmith in France?

'Rogues' go on trial for ripping shirts of Air France bosses
Photo: AFP

A court in France will decide whether ripping the shirt off your boss's back is all part and parcel of a French labour dispute.

Hollande dealt major blow as jobless rate shoots up
Photo: AFP

The news could dissuade President François Hollande from even running for re-election.

Aussie TV show accused of staging French burkini row
Photo: Channel 7 screengrab

Was an Australian TV report about France's burkini ban a set up to portray the French as "anti-Muslim"?

Five ways Paris is better than it was 15 years ago
All photos: AFP

Here's how one man says Paris has changed for the better over his last 15 years in the city.

Man in 60s wounds two in France supermarket shooting
Photo: AFP

A police SWAT team has surrounded gunman's apartment.

Paris makes 'history' by banning cars on river bank

The French capital is going green with a vengeance.

France's hospital doctors stage strike to highlight crisis
Photo: AFP

Unions have called for a "massive" walk-out among hospital doctors.

France's last 'real Camembert' cheese fights for survival
All photos: Charly Triballeau/AFP

It's a cheese maker's take on David and Goliath.

Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Features
Room for improvement: Paris's matchbox apartments
'Stop telling immigrants to be French and help it happen'
Society
Take the test: How far have you assimilated into French culture?
Lifestyle
Eleven things you should know before moving to Paris
National
France's Marion Cotillard rebuffs rumours of fling with Brad Pitt
National
Eight arrested over links to Nice truck attacker
Features
Why everyone should party in a French chateau at least once
Travel
The Frenchman who hated 'Nazi-Zealand' after four-day hitch-hike fail
Culture
What's on: Ten exciting events across France in September
The 45-million year old underground shells that flavour Champagne
Features
French job speak: All the terms you need to know
'Resilient' Paris now a more appealing city than New York
National
France says it's OK to warn drivers about speed cameras
Meet Honorine, 113, the oldest person in France
Education
Grenoble named France's best city to be a student
Society
New Metro map reveals cheapest pints of beer in Paris
Business & Money
How reliant is the French economy on Paris?
Society
Here's why Parisians want to move to Bordeaux
And the 'best place to spend a weekend in Europe' is… Lyon
Analysis & Opinion
'Muslims in France must be considered ordinary citizens'
Armed guards to ride French trains from October
National
France among Europe's priciest for train travel
National
Paris set to make river bank car-free for six-month trial
2,732
jobs available