56-year-old Renaud Prudhomme downed the alcohol in October 2014 in an attempt to beat the establishment’s record of 55 shots
A French bartender was convicted of manslaughter on Wednesday after serving 56 shots to a customer who died the next day.
Gilles Crepin says he kept the bar’s record of 55 shots written on a board in Le Starter, a bar in the French city of Clermont-Ferrand. A lawyer representing Prudhomme’s daughter contends Crepin encouraged the dangerous stunt, and should be responsible for the consequences, reports Agence France-Presse.
Prudhomme proceeded to down 30 shots of alcohol in about one minute, ultimately drinking a liter of booze, reports The Telegraph.
Following the drinking contest, Prudhomme’s daughter escorted him home, but had to take the inebriated man to a hospital when he went into cardiac arrest.
He died the next day.
The court handed Crepin a four-month suspended sentence, and banned him from working in a bar for a year. His lawyer, Renaud Portejoie, told the BBC they intend to appeal the ruling.
“It’s a decision guided by emotion and the unconscious desire to set an example,” Portejoie said. “We can’t ask every customer who buys alcohol to present their medical certificates.”
You can, however, be responsible enough to know when a customer is putting himself in danger.
According to his daughter, the landlord of the bar whispered “only 12 to go” at one point, apparently encouraging him to keep going.
“The owner served the father of my client when he was not in a fit state to understand what he was doing,” the daughter’s lawyer Antoine Portal told BFM TV.
“It is not known whether he would still be alive if he had not drunk the last 12 shots, but by downing those last shots, he was left with no chance,” he said.
“It was a case of inciting someone to consume. That’s an extremely serious mistake for a bar owner.”
However, Portejoie, the defendant’s lawyer, insisted he urged Renaud to stop his record-breaking attempt.
While conceding that chalking up the existing record on a black board was “a mistake”, he argued “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 check 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 as France is seeking to clamp down on binge drinking, until recently considered a purely “Anglo-Saxon” scourge.
But, in my opinion as a former bartender, while you can’t always check who is drinking what, you can be conscious of your bar patrons’ safety.