The hunter who shot a 25-year-old man dead in his garden in Lot in 2020 has been found guilty of involuntary homicide along with the director of the hunt but the two will not serve time in jail.
Hunter Julien F. was given a two-year suspended sentence and the permanent removal of his hunting permit. At the time of the accident, he had only recently obtained his hunting permit and did not know the area well.
Hunt director Laurent L. was given an 18-month suspended prison sentence and his hunting permit will be suspended for five years.
The two men must also pay an €18,000 fine.
Morgan Keane was chopping wood a few dozen metres away from his house in a hamlet near Calvignac on December 2, 2020, when he was hit in the chest by a stray bullet shot by a then 33-year-old hunter from Aveyron.
The hunter later went voluntarily to the gendarmerie to explain what had happened and said he had shot at Mr Keane thinking he was a wild boar. He was charged with involuntary homicide.
The hunter and the director of the hunt went on trial in Cahors on November 17, and the verdict was handed down today (January 12).
Read more: Six months’ jail demand for French hunter who shot man dead in garden
Read more: Trial to begin over hunt accident death of 25-year-old in his garden
Mr Keane’s friends were disappointed by the sentencing. Peggy, who among others set up the ‘Un jour un chasseur’ campaign group for change to hunting safety rules, told La Dépêche: “The director’s hunting permit should have been definitively withdrawn; he should not be able to hunt again one day.
“We are really hurt by the director’s attitude: he was not there today, but most importantly, he has never apologised.”
Another friend of Mr Keane, Yann, said on exiting the courtroom: “I just wanted justice for my mate, for Morgan.”
He added: “So you can kill someone and stay at home in the warm as if nothing had happened. An €18,000 fine is ridiculous. Their life will not change, while ours has.”
The lawyer representing Mr Keane’s brother Rowan, Benoit Coussy, said: “Generally, prison sentences for hunters are only six or three months suspended.”
Michel Bouscary, the president of Lot’s hunting federation, stated: “We are committed to continuing hunt director training and the mandatory training session every 10 years, which was imposed by the 2020 safety law.
“We hope that all of our hunters will be trained between now and the beginning of the next hunt season to avoid such an accident.”
Emilie Geffroy, the lawyer representing Laurent L, said that they are considering appealing the sentence.
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