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Teen hunter charged in France over hiker’s death

A 17-year-old girl has been charged with involuntary manslaughter over the death of a French hiker shot during a boar hunt at the weekend.

A teenager has been charged with accidently killing someone during a hunt in France.
A teenager has been charged with accidently killing someone during a hunt in France. (Photo by Pascal POCHARD-CASABIANCA / AFP)

French prosecutors said on Tuesday that they had charged a 17-year-old girl with involuntary manslaughter over the death of a hiker during a hunt for wild boar, a tragedy that sparked fresh calls for tougher rules over a cherished pastime.

The teenager presented herself to authorities on Saturday after the victim, a 25-year-old woman who was walking with a friend along a marked trail near Aurillac in central France, died after being hit by a stray bullet.

After being initially treated for shock, the teen was taken into custody for questioning on Sunday before being released, as investigators questioned others in the hunting group to determine if she was indeed the one who took the fatal shot.

While France’s love of its rural heritage runs deep, the tragedy pushed a debate over the divisive tradition into the ongoing presidential campaign, with several rivals of President Emmanuel Macron demanding greater oversight.

Several politicians have called for prohibiting hunting on weekends or during school vacations, as several other European countries have done for years.

READ MORE Where do the French presidential candidates stand on hunting?

Macron will likely face questions over the case at his scheduled appearance at the Paris Agriculture Show on Saturday, a key stop for candidates looking to court the rural vote.

“It’s a tragedy that forces us to ask questions,” Macron’s Environment Minister Barbara Pompili said on Monday, adding that it was legitimate to ask “how a girl so young can find herself with a weapon in her hands.”

Asked about implementing hunt-free days in national forests and other areas, she said: “We have to think about how to reconcile hunters with everyone else who enjoys nature.”

France is one of the few European countries that do not prohibit hunting on certain days during the season, instead allowing hunters to shoot at all times as long as they alert others of their activity — a requirement decried by critics as insufficient.

A petition last autumn seeking to outlaw hunting on Sundays and Wednesdays, when many schools do not have class, garnered 120,000 signatures and prompted the Senate to create a panel to assess its safety.

According to French daily Le Monde, citing France’s biodiversity office, there have been 3,325 hunting accidents in France since 2000, resulting in 421 deaths.

Member comments

  1. ” …. allowing hunters to shoot at all times as long as they alert others of their activity.”
    How very French. What a stupid bit of legislation is this? The I live in a wooded valley and the only ‘alert’ I get is when I hear them which is a bit late, really.

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POLICE

French pensioner pushed out of 17th-floor window ‘may have been victim of anti-Semitic attack’

An 89-year-old man who was pushed out of his 17th-storey window by a neighbour may have been killed because he was Jewish, a prosecutor said on Friday, after several shocking anti-Semitic murders in France in recent years.

French pensioner pushed out of 17th-floor window 'may have been victim of anti-Semitic attack'

The victim’s body was found at the foot of his building in Lyon, southeast France, on May 17th and the 51-year-old neighbour was arrested. But investigators did not initially charge him with a racist crime.

Last Sunday, the BNVCA anti-Semitism watchdog group said it would seek to be a plaintiff in the case, citing its similarity with the 2017 murder of Sarah Halimi, a 65-year-old thrown from her window in a case that sparked national outcry.

“After social media postings were provided to us, the prosector’s office has asked judges to consider the aggravating circumstance of an act committed because of the victim’s ethnicity, nationality, race or religion,” Lyon prosecutor Nicolas Jacquet told AFP.

He did not provide examples of the posts, but Gilles-William Goldnadel, a lawyer and commentator for CNews television, said on Wednesday on Twitter that the suspect had called out Goldnabel in messages, including one that told him to “remember your origins.”

“It’s no longer a question of telling us it’s the act of a mentally disturbed person. The truth of anti-Semitism must no longer be hidden,” Goldnadel wrote.

France has grappled with a sharp rise in violence targeting its roughly 500,000 Jews, the largest community in Europe, in addition to jihadist attacks in recent years.

The murder of Halimi drew particular outrage after the killer, who had shouted “Allahu akbar” (“God is greatest” in Arabic), avoided trial because a judge determined he was under the influence of drugs and not criminally responsible.

That prompted President Emmanuel Macron to seek a law change to ensure people face responsibility for violent crimes while under the influence of drugs, which was adopted in December 2021.

In 2018, 85-year-old Mireille Knoll was brutally stabbed in an attack by two men said to have been looking for “hidden treasures” in her Paris apartment.

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