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Law in France obliges people to help others in danger.

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Law in France obliges people to help others in danger.

Post by bobbin on 05.01.14 18:50

I can understand the lady is grieving, but is this the way that people should be taking responsibility for the actions of others.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/05/french-mother-sue-couple-filmed-drunk-son

French mother to sue couple who filmed drunk son before he drowned
Sylvie Zecca accuses pair of breaking law requiring people to help anyone in danger, after they let teenager walk away

Kim Willsher in Paris
The Guardian, Sunday 5 January 2014 12.42 GMT
Jump to comments (128)

Garonne river
The Garonne river in Toulouse. Photograph: Remy Gabalda/AFP/Getty Images

A grieving mother in France is to sue a couple who allegedly mocked and filmed her drunken son who was later found drowned.

Sylvie Zecca, a former police officer, says she wants to make an example of the pair, and accuses them of contravening a French law requiring individuals to help anyone in danger.

Her 19-year-old son, Vincent, disappeared after a night out in Bordeaux in March 2012. Three weeks later police divers retrieved his body from the Garonne river that runs through the city.

At first the family thought he had been murdered, as one of his credit cards appeared to have been stolen and used that evening. A police investigation concluded he had accidentally drowned after slipping into the Garonne while drunk.

After gaining access to the police file shortly before Christmas, Zecca announced she was suing the two passersby who told police they had seen her son.

The pair, who have not been named, told investigators the teenager was "very drunk … near comatose". Instead of helping him, the couple apparently laughed at him, filmed him with their smartphone and watched him walk off.

The lawsuit for "deliberately not helping someone in danger" and "voluntary manslaughter" is being lodged against "persons unknown" to allow a wider investigation, but Zecca is clear on whom she is targeting. "I'm not seeking punishment, just that they be made to face up to their responsibilities," Zecca told French journalists.

The police file showed that several people had come across Vincent Zecca, but only the couple stopped to film him. After watching the short video, Zecca said her son was "not himself". She said: "Vincent was being inoffensive. He was only asking to return home."

Zecca claimed young drunks should be seen as vulnerable people as opposed to culprits. "Someone who's not walking straight in the street, is shouting, falling over, is speaking incoherently, being sick … is that funny? People say 'oh, he's had a skinful' and don't do anything to help. But when someone has an epileptic fit, you call the emergency services. When someone is bleeding from an injury after a fight, you don't laugh, you call for help," Zecca told Sud Ouest newspaper.

Zecca has set up an association, Jeunesse Volée (Stolen Youth), to raise awareness of the risks of alcohol and drugs for youngsters.

Under article 223-6 of the French criminal code, "non-assistance à personne en danger" carries a civil and criminal liability. In the criminal courts the penalty is up to five years in jail and a fine of up to €75,000 (£62,000). In the civil courts judges can order compensation to the victim or their family.

Photographers at the scene of the car crash in Paris in 1997 in which Diana, Princess of Wales, died were investigated for the offence but not charged.

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Re: Law in France obliges people to help others in danger.

Post by Guest on 05.01.14 19:31

It's an absolute duty we have, to help others in need or danger.
I've done it many times, and not always been thanked for it .... but I couldn't do differently.
IMO it's good, that someone's taking this out into the open again to address the issue.
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Re: Law in France obliges people to help others in danger.

Post by Guest on 05.01.14 19:43

Châtelaine wrote:It's an absolute duty we have, to help others in need or danger.
I've done it many times, and not always been thanked for it .... but I couldn't do differently.
IMO it's good, that someone's taking this out into the open again to address the issue.


I agree Chatelaine, it is a moral duty, but is it a legal duty? I have zero knowledge of the law but isn't this addressed as "omission or commission"?
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Re: Law in France obliges people to help others in danger.

Post by onehand on 05.01.14 20:49

we have something like the french law in the netherlands, but it only as far, as you are capable and able to help, you are obliged to  en there is only a punishment by law if somebody you could have given help or you could have get others there to assist, will die without this help.

it is written down in: wetboek van strafrecht, art. 450 under dutch law 

but in a ordinary city, with a lot of bars and also a lot of people who had to much alcohol, you get immune for this being drunk quite quickly, but being drunk on the street is also forbidden by law and being drunk is not the same as being in danger. the difficult part is that those who behave like to be drunk, could also had a lot of other medical conditions. but you could always call in on the police and let them decide what is best.

we also have a law which says, that as long as somebody don't want help, you have to leave him, there is no mentioning you have to decide by yourself of this person is in his own rational mind. so you can't hold such a person to give help. art. 426bis. if you think this not wanting help is a danger, you have to call out for the professionals. 

from the article , i don't know of this man or boy was in any direct danger at the moment those people were filming. 

the moral duty is different and luckily a lot of people still feel the obligation to help out wen really needed. it could make a difference, but not in every case.

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Re: Law in France obliges people to help others in danger.

Post by Guest on 05.01.14 20:57

http://www.theguardian.co.uk/uk/1999/sep/02/monarchy.paulwebster

I'm reminded of the Diana crash photographers. I presume that none of them were prosecuted in the end.
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