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ENVIRONMENT

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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POLITICS

Beautiful game sparks ugly row at French parliament

Sport and charity work are among few subjects warring politicians unite around, but not so in the new French parliament where a dispute has erupted over whether far-right MPs can play in the assembly's football team.

Beautiful game sparks ugly row at French parliament

Left-wing parties and the governing Renaissance group of President Emmanuel Macron announced Tuesday they would boycott a charity game if the far-right National Rally (RN) joins the parliament side.

Even though the RN has historically high representation with 89 seats in the assembly, “that doesn’t mean that we should help them in their desire to normalise themselves,” government spokesman Olivier Veran told CNews television.

Senior Renaissance MP Aurore Berge fretted about the team photo, telling fellow centrist lawmakers: “We are not in the same team. Neither far-right, nor far-left.”

The row underlines a decades-long dilemma for mainstream French politicians over how to deal with the far-right parties of Jean Marie Le Pen and his daughter Marine Le Pen since their emergence in the 1970s.

Some have tried to boycott them entirely, including former president Jacques Chirac, who refused to debate Jean-Marie in 2002 when they faced off in the final round of the presidential election.

She scored 41.4 percent in the second round of April’s presidential election and the party increased its number of seats 10-fold in June’s parliamentary vote.

“It says a lot about these people in reality,” Le Pen told RTL radio on Wednesday about the football row. “It’s hatred all the time,  everywhere, non-stop fighting.”

Veran, an enthusiastic player in previous parliament charity matches, acknowledged his own misgivings about the boycott.

“In saying that I won’t go to play, I am taking part in a phenomenon that serves to reinforce the notion that they (the far-right) are ostracised, that they are victims of the system,” he said.

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