He had spent the evening with his daughter and some friends who helped him home in his inebriated state, but they soon had to phone emergency services. He died in hospital the following day.

Bartender Gilles Crepin, 47, admitted at an earlier hearing that he had made a mistake by displaying the shots record on a noticeboard, encouraging the victim to go too far.  He was given a four-month suspended sentence by a local court on Wednesday and banned from working in a bar for a year.  His lawyer said he would appeal the ruling.

"It's a decision guided by emotion and the unconscious desire to set an example," said Renaud Portejoie, who had called for the case to be thrown out.

Portejoie said his client bore no responsibility, that it was the man's daughter who had pushed him to break the record and that he had existing respiratory and alcohol abuse problems.

"We can't ask every customer who buys alcohol to present their medical certificates," he said.

Antoine Portal, a lawyer for Prudhomme's daughter, said she was not at the bar at the time of the drinking competition.

"My client is relieved by this decision," he said of the ruling forbidding Crepin from working as a bartender.

"We want to remind some professionals that it is illegal to serve alcohol to clients who are in an advanced state of inebriation," he said.

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