NEWS

French bar owner charged after man dies drinking at least 56 shots

05/06/2015 09:18 EDT | Updated 05/06/2016 05:59 EDT
French courts must decide whether a bar owner is responsible for the death of a patron, who died shortly after drinking at least 56 shots of liquor in October 2014.

French news site The Local reports that the owner of a bar in Clermont-Ferrand, a city in the Auvergne region of France, is charged with "manslaughter by willful neglect." 

Renaud, 57, tried to break the bar's record for the most shots consumed by a single customer, which previously stood at 55.

The Local reports that he may have already consumed 14 shots before going for the record. It is unclear if the 14 counted towards the record-breaking attempt.

He reportedly drank 30 shots in about a minute, before finishing at 56. Some of the drinks were hard liquor and others were mixed drinks. He was carried out of the bar by his daughter and friends, but died the following day of cardiac arrest.

The man's daughter said that the bar's landlord said "only 12 more to go" at one point, arguing that he was encouraging Renaud to continue drinking when he was apparently already visibly intoxicated.

"It was a case of inciting someone to consume. That's an extremely serious mistake for a bar owner," said the daughter's lawyer.

A lawyer representing the bar, however, said that the owner actually encouraged the man to stop trying to break the record. The lawyer also said that "no one forced the client to take on the challenge."

'Le binge drinking' crackdown

The man's death in October came at a time of increased concern about "le binge drinking" in France, a growing phenomenon among youth that is often attributed as being an import from the U.K. and United States.

In April, the French National Assembly passed a draft law that would impose people who encourage minors to drink excessively with a €15,000 ($20,400) fine. The bill, which also includes reforms to curb anorexic models and branded cigarette packaging, now goes to the Senate before a final vote back in the assembly. 

As many as 49,000 people die every year in France from the consequences of drinking alcohol, according to a 2013 study published in the European Journal of Public Health.

In Ontario, the Liquor License Act states that "no person shall sell or supply liquor or permit liquor to be sold or supplied to any person who is or appears to be intoxicated."

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