French man faces court over ‘consensual sex’ with 11-year-old

A French court was set to hear the case of a 28-year-old man who avoided rape charges after having sex with an 11-year-old after prosecutors judged that the intercourse was consensual.

French man faces court over 'consensual sex' with 11-year-old

The decision to charge the defendant with sexual assault, rather than the more serious crime of rape, caused an outcry in September when it first emerged and led to public debate about the age of consent.

The government has vowed to introduce one for the first time because France does not treat sex between an adult and a minor as rape unless there is proof that force was used.

“There is no question of consent when we're talking about a child of 11 years,” lawyer Carine Diebolt, who is representing the girl and her parents, told reporters before the trial opened on Tuesday.

She has asked for the case in the town of Pontoise to be adjourned and a rape charge to be applied, insisting that the child was shocked, intimidated and threatened by the defendant.

The father of two children, now aged 29, approached the girl in a public area of a housing estate in Montmagny northwest of Paris. She performed oral sex in an elevator on the way to his apartment where they had penetrative sex.

His lawyer, Marc Goudarzian, cast doubt on the girl's testimony and insisted his client thought the girl was 17 because she had passed puberty.
“She wasn't born yesterday,” Goudarzian added.

In November last year, a man was acquitted of rape after having sex with an 11-year-old after a jury found no evidence that she had been forced into the relationship.

And in another widely publicised case, a teacher was given a suspended jail sentence, not a prison term, in the same month for having sex with a 14-year-old pupil.

President Emmanuel Macron, who is married to his former school teacher, has proposed a new law that would make 15 the age of consent


French police shoot dead knife-wielding man at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport

French Border police at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris shot - and killed - man who was wielding a knife in the public area of the airport on Wednesday.

French police shoot dead knife-wielding man at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport

Border police reportedly shot a man with aggressive behaviour who brandished a knife in the public area of the Charles de Gaulle airport outside of Paris, on Wednesday morning, police and airport sources told AFP.

“This morning officers neutralised a threatening individual in possession of a knife at the Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport,” the Paris police department said on its Twitter account.

A source close to the investigation told BFMTV that the man – who was likely homeless – went towards the officers, despite being asked several times to put the knife down. In response, police shot the man in the abdomen, and the individual later died.

The incident took place in the busy, public area of terminal 2F around 8:20 am, when “a homeless man started bothering security agents and border police were called in to remove him”.

Initially the man left while yelling curses but he soon returned and brought out a knife, when one of the officers fired his weapon.

An AFP photographer who witnessed the scene said “a large person of colour brandished something that looked like a knife at the police”.

“He was ordered to stop but kept advancing toward them, and an officer fired a single shot.”

The man was quickly put on a stretcher and evacuated, the photographer said. 

Security forces have been on high alert for terrorist attacks since a wave of jihadist killings that have killed more than 250 people since 2015, often by so-called “lone wolves” who often target police.