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French girl, 11, 'not a child' say lawyers for man, 29, accused of sexual abuse

Case rekindles debate about age of consent in France as family argue suspect should be charged with rape

A 29-year-old French man went on trial onTuesday in a Paris suburb accused of sexually abusing 11-year-old girl in a case that has rekindled debate about France’s age of consent.

France does not have a legal age under which a minor cannot agree to a sexual relationship — although the country’s top court has ruled that children aged five and under cannot consent. Lawyers for the suspect argued that the girl was consenting and aware of what she was doing, while lawyers for the girl have said she was simply too young and confused to resist.

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