The accident occurred on December 2, 2020 in the late afternoon, as daylight was declining, in a hamlet in the village of Calvignac. A wild boar hunt was organized in a wood near the property of the Franco-British. The shooter will say he mistook it for a boar.
The death of the young man had scandalized his relatives and opponents of hunting in the Lot, who created a collective, One day a hunter, demanding a change in the legislation on hunting.
Shortly before the opening of the hearing, Audrey Tindilière, a member of this collective, assured AFP that “many people support us”, and that “80% of people are for measures strengthening the regulation of hunting , to better share nature with hunters”.
The gendarmes’ investigation revealed that the 35-year-old shooter was inexperienced, did not know the area and that the beat had been poorly prepared and poorly conducted.
This hunter was notably “posted in an impossible place”, where “a seasoned hunter would not have fired” without clearly identifying his target, estimates Benoit Coussy, lawyer for the victim’s brother, Rowan Keane, who formed civil party.
The Federation of Lot Hunters, which has some 6,500 members, is also a civil party. A systematic approach in this kind of trial, specifies its president Michel Bouscary.
– “Exemplary condemnation” –
The president of the National Federation of Hunters (FNC) Willy Schraen hopes for “an exemplary conviction”.
“Hunters who do not respect the basic rules, we permanently exclude them from our ranks. This must not happen again. It is unacceptable, this error led to the death of a man. If we do not know what we shoot, we don’t shoot,” he insisted.
Judged for “involuntary homicide”, the author of the fatal shot and the director of the hunt, an experienced 51-year-old hunter, incur up to three years’ imprisonment, a fine of 75,000 euros, the prohibition to hold a weapon for five years or the permanent withdrawal of their hunting licence.
For Audrey Tindilière, there should be better training for hunters and “more dissuasive sentences”.
“It’s a whole system that we denounce,” she explains.
While welcoming the presence of the director of the hunt on the defendants’ bench, a rather rare fact in this kind of trial, Me Coussy regretted that other hunters were not also judged for not having alerted to the presence of the victim. or for having left the scene after the fatal gunshot, without giving him assistance.
The author of the shooting, who came to hunt in the Lot for the day from the neighboring department of Aveyron where he resides, is under judicial supervision with a ban on hunting, possessing and carrying a weapon since his indictment on December 4. 2020.
In France, the number of hunting accidents has been falling for 20 years, according to the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB). Nevertheless, for the 2021/22 season, the OFB recorded 90 hunting accidents, compared to 80 the previous season. Among them, eight fatal accidents, including two involving non-hunter victims.
Judgment is expected to be reserved at a later date.