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August 26, 2010

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Friends sued over son's death

A COUPLE sued their son's friends over his death from alcohol poisoning, accusing them of leaving their son unattended after drinking heavily.

The Putuo District People's Court heard the case yesterday but didn't reach a verdict.

Wang Jincheng, 20, attended a friend's birthday party in a restaurant in the district on May 26 and was pushed by his friends to drink to excess, the couple told the court.

Wang's friends left him sleeping on the sofa in the restaurant but the young man from Henan Province was found dead the next morning.

The parents were seeking 150,000 yuan (US$22,000) in compensation from his friends as well as the restaurant owner and staff.

However, the friends told the court Wang had not been invited by them and had declined offers to send him home.

"We even tried to notify his parents to pick him up, but failed," said Wang Juan, one of the accused. The victim's mother, Jiang Xiulan, said Wang Juan, her son's colleague and girlfriend, had invited Wang to attend her sister's birthday party at the Miaoshouxiang restaurant on Nujiang Road.

Jiang said her son called her, telling her about Wang's invitation and said that they might spend the night together.

The mother heard about her son's death the next evening after work.

She went to the restaurant and talked to the cook, one of five defendants, and recorded the conversation. The chef, Zhang Farong, told her that her son had drunk at least two glasses of white wine and others had cheered him on when he was drinking.

The victim became drunk about 20 minutes later.

Zhang told the court that Jiang had not asked for his permission to record the conversation and denied the conversation with her.

Wang Juan refuted Jiang's claim about their relationship and said they happened to meet the victim, who had asked to join them.

"I felt that he had drunk some alcohol before coming to the birthday party," she said.

Wang was sleeping on the sofa and the partygoers left one after another after he declined their offers to send him home, she said.

The restaurant staff said they tried without success to find out where he lived by going through his pockets.

They put a blanket over him to prevent him getting sick in the air-conditioned room but they found him dead at 9am the next day.


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