Depardieu faces fine and ban in drink driving case
John Lichfield has been The Independent's man in Paris since 1997, covering French news. Before that, he was the paper's Foreign Editor and he has also worked in Brussels and Washington. In 1999, he was the UK press Awards Foreign Reporter of the year.
Friday 24 May 2013
The actor Gérard Depardieu faces a €4,000 (£3,400) fine and a 10-month driving ban after a long-delayed drink driving case finally came to court in Paris today.
Mr Depardieu, who acquired Russian nationality this year, was not in court because he was making a film in Chechnya.
The court was told that the actor had fallen off his moped while driving under the influence of alcohol through the streets of Paris last November.
His lawyer, Eric de Caumont, accepted responsibility on his client’s behalf, but disputed the prosecution’s claim that Mr Depardieu was too drunk at the time of the accident to understand his rights as a defendant.
Mr de Caumont said that Mr Depardieu had not taken anything alcoholic since drinking “several glasses of champagne” before leaving Uzbekistan the day before. The lawyer claimed that the charge was null and void because Mr Depardieu had not been offered the chance of a second alcohol test.
The prosecution said that, under the law, police could wait until a defendant was “in a fit state” to be informed of his rights. In this case, the actor “smelled of alcohol” and was “very bad tempered”. There was no doubt about his guilt, the prosecution said, before asking for a €4,000 fine and a 10-month suspension from driving. Judgment was delayed until 21 June.
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