The actor Gerardé Depardieu was fined Euros 4,000 and banned from driving for six months today after falling off his scooter in central Paris last year when nearly four times over the alcohol limit.
In a delayed judgement in a much-delayed trial, a Paris court rejected attempts by the actor’s lawyer to challenge the drink-driving charge on procedural and technical grounds.
Mr Depardieu, 64, who has appeared in over 100 films, injured his elbow when he fell from his scooter in the middle of an afternoon last November. No other vehicles or pedestrians were involved.
The case was heard in the actor’s absence last month after it had three times been delayed because he was unable to attend. The court heard that tests showed that he had 1.8 grammes of alcohol in a litre of his blood – roughly equivalent to four glasses of wine. The limit in France is 0.5 grammes a litre.
Depardieu accepted Russian citizenship earlier this year after a public spat with the Socialist-led French government over reports that he planned to move into tax exile in Belgium. His reputation has been battered by a series of public incidents in recent years.
A driver brought a legal complaint against him for assault last year after a street quarrel in Paris. In 2012, Depardieu caused outrage when he urinated publicly into a bottle during a flight from Paris to Dublin.
His lawyer, Eric de Caumont, said of his drink-driving conviction today: “Naturally we are disappointed to the extent that we had sought an acquittal.”
The state prosecutor, Aureliaé Devos, complained that Depardieu had sought three adjournments but had not turned up for either the trial or the verdict. “It’s always frustrating when a defendant contests the evidence but is not present to answer questions,” she said.
Additional reporting by agencies