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Rape charge called for in girl, 11, case

Case may give rise to legal age of consent regulation in France

A court has forced the first move towards the introduction of a legal age of consent in France after it called for a prosecuting judge to look at rape charges in a sex case involving an 11-year-old girl.

The case had caused anger as the 29-year-old man had been accused of sexual assault and not rape because France does not recognise sex with minors as rape unless force is used.

Prosecutors had decided sex was ‘consensual’ but the court in Pontoise, near Paris, said it was not competent to judge the case, and called on the prosecution to name a prosecuting judge to deal with it properly.

The defence lawyer said afterwards his client had “nothing to blame himself for” as the man believed the girl was 17 and she was “not born yesterday”. The girl’s lawyer said: “There is no question of consent when talking about an 11-year-old child.”

President Macron has said he wants the law changed to make 15 the age of consent amid anger over recent cases where a man was cleared of raping a girl, 11, and a teacher got a suspended term after sex with a girl of 14.

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