A court on Wednesday found the manager of a sex toy shop guilty of violating child protection laws for selling his products within 200 metres of a school.

"/> A court on Wednesday found the manager of a sex toy shop guilty of violating child protection laws for selling his products within 200 metres of a school.

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Court says sex shop too close to school

A court on Wednesday found the manager of a sex toy shop guilty of violating child protection laws for selling his products within 200 metres of a school.

Court says sex shop too close to school
Benjamin Linh Vu

Shop manager Nicolas Busnel had denied that its products such as dildos and vibrators violated the law, following a complaint from a Christian group, the CLER Love and Family association.

But the court in the French capital found that Busnel had violated the law by selling the products at his shop in central Paris, which is 90 metres from a local elementary school.

The court ordered him to pay a symbolic one euro in damages to the association. He had faced up to two years in prison and a €30,000 ($40,000) fine.

He said he would have to close the shop in the coming months, with three people losing their jobs.

His lawyer Richard Malka said he would appeal and denounced the verdict as based on “the most retrograde morality and the most worrying puritanism”.

“France is today the only country in the Western world to consider a vibrating duck as a pornographic object,” he said.

Malka said the restriction would make it nearly impossible for anyone to open a sex shop in densely populated central Paris.

“This decision will inevitably lead to a ban in a capital of the Western world on all businesses selling sex toys,” he said.

A lawyer for the Christian group, Henri de Beauregard, said he was “satisfied that the law has been applied” and that “the protection of children is not retrograde”.

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OFFBEAT

France’s mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo

A black panther rescued from rooftops near the northern city of Lille last week has been stolen from the zoo where it was taken after capture, officials said.

France's mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo
Photo: AFP/ Sapeurs Pompiers du Nord

The feline was seized overnight from the zoo in Maubeuge near the Belgian border, the city's mayor, Arnaud Decagny, told AFP on Tuesday.

“This animal was the only target,” Decagny said, adding that “considerable efforts” were made to force locks and avoid security systems.

Zoo personnel are worried about the young panther's health, “which is rather delicate because he lacks strength,” the mayor added, saying the animal was just a few months old and weighed between 25 and 30kg.

The panther after its capture. Photo League Protectrice des Animaux de la Nord de France/AFP

The panther was going to be transferred to a centre specialised in rehabilitating wild animals that had been domesticated.

Firefighters caught the cat last Wednesday as it roamed rooftops in Armentieres after escaping through the window of a private apartment believed to have been its home.

The panther's owner is thought to have escaped through the same window, for fear of being charged with illegally harbouring a wild animal.

Police have not located the fugitive owner, who could face charges of endangering the public, which is punishable by up to a year in prison and €15,000 in fines, Decagny said.

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