French hunter who killed a man he mistook for a boar avoids jail

© Valentine Chapuis/ AFP file picture

A French hunter on Thursday avoided prison over the killing of a Franco-British man he had mistaken for a boar, disappointing relatives and friends who had wanted a stiffer penalty.

Morgan Keane, 25, was shot dead in December 2020 in southwestern France by Julien Feral, 35, while he was chopping wood on his land.

The verdict came days after the French government outlined tighter rules for the sport designed to prevent such accidents, as controversy grows over what for many remains a proud tradition of France’s countryside.

Feral was given a two-year suspended jail term and banned from hunting for life following his trial for involuntary homicide in the southwestern French town of Cahors.

Meanwhile the organiser of the hunt received an 18-month suspended sentence and a five-year hunting ban.

Prosecutors had called for both men to serve at least some jail time.

“The justice system has done its work” within the limits of existing laws, said Benoit Coussy, lawyer for Keane’s brother.

“Now lawmakers have to do their work and create a specific ‘hunting offence’ that could allow harsher punishments,” he added.

“The message has been sent that if you kill someone, there are absolutely no consequences,” said Peggy, a friend of Keane’s, who did not give her last name.

“I know he isn’t necessarily a danger to the public, but for me you have to send a message that killing someone isn’t nothing,” she added.

‘Marked for life’

No hunt-free Sundays

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

Read also:
Hunters: Enemies or allies of the environment?
French hunters take aim at director Besson for shielding deer
Weapons amnesty: French urged to handover undeclared guns