Depardieu a no-show for drink-drive trial

GERARD Depardieu (pictured) failed to turn up to face a drink-driving charge at a Paris court yesterday.

The 64-year-old actor, who is embroiled in a tax row with the French government and has promised to leave his native country, has admitted driving his scooter while drunk last month. An alcohol test showed he was more than three times above the drink-driving limit.

If he had shown up he would likely have escaped with a small fine and penalty points on his driving licence. He now faces a criminal court hearing, which could lead to a fine of €4,500 and a maximum prison sentence of up to two years.

Depardieu's lawyer said outside the court that the star was unable to attend his "guilty plea" because he was "abroad for professional reasons".

He said Depardieu flew to the Montenegro Film Festival yesterday after attending the Ballon d'Or ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland.

He insisted that Depardieu had in no way "refused to present himself", and did not wish to "escape" the hearing.

The prosecutor had refused a request to postpone the hearing for a second time, saying he saw no reason to afford the actor "preferential treatment".

The criminal court hearing will take place in a few months' time. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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