A 32-year-old Norwegian bartender was sentenced to six months in prison Wednesday for serving a customer so much tequila that he fell into a coma and died.

According to a district court in the southwestern city of Hokksund the bartender, whose name was withheld, pleaded guilty to serving 34-year-old Leif Henning Nilsen 19 shots of the strong Mexican liquor in 90 minutes at the Spiseriet restaurant in May 2004.

Nilsen lost consciousness and died three days later.

The court said it could not hold the bartender accountable for the death itself, but sentenced him to prison for illegally serving alcohol to a clearly intoxicated person.

The ruling said the bartender intentionally contributed to the excess by drinking shots of water, tricking the victim into what he thought was a drinking contest.

"In the court's opinion, it is hard to imagine a more serious case of excessive alcohol serving," said the ruling, which also revoked the bartender's right to have any job that involves serving alcohol for five years.

The restaurant was in Vikersund, about 25 miles west of the capital, Oslo.