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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 October, 2004, 12:27 GMT 13:27 UK
French drink-drive hosts cleared
Angelique and Jean-Sebastien Fraisse
Angelique Fraisse (left) was left paralysed by a drunk driver aged 16
A French couple on trial for allowing a dinner guest to get into his car while drunk have been cleared of all criminal charges by a court in Nancy.

Frederic Colin crashed on the wrong side of a motorway, killing himself and a family of four.

Victims' relatives brought the case, accusing Angelique and Jean-Sebastian Fraisse of failing to prevent a crime.

If found guilty the couple could have faced jail or a fine - and the case could have set a legal precedent.

Speaking after the verdict, Angelique said she was "happy and relieved... I no longer need to feel guilty.

"Justice has shown that I was not responsible."

The irony of the case is that the accused couple met after both had been the victims of drunk drivers.

Angelique was paralysed from the waist downwards at the age of 16 after being run over.

That, says the prosecution, means both should have been all the more aware of the risks when they let their friend drive off at four in the morning after a long night of drinking at their home.


The couple argued that they had tried to stop Mr Colin but that he became aggressive and insisted on leaving.

Shortly afterwards, their guest drove at speed the wrong way down a motorway and crashed into another car carrying a family of five.

Thank goodness for common sense, people must take responsibility for their own actions
Tony Gerry, Scotland

He was killed instantly and so were four of the family members. There was only one survivor, a five-year-old girl.

Her grandmother brought the case against the couple, saying they should at least have rung the police to warn them that their guest was about to drive drunk.

At an earlier hearing, the prosecutor made clear he thought the couple did all they could to prevent the man driving home drunk.

The case has divided France, where drink driving is becoming socially unacceptable after a lengthy government campaign.

Bar owners can already be held legally responsible if they allow a drunk customer to drive.

French couple walk free

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