A man has gone on trial for having sex with an 11-year-old girl last year - with prosecutors having decided the act was consensual.
The 29-year-old defendant, from the Paris suburb of Pointoise, has been charged with sexual assault, rather than the more serious charge of rape, because prosecutors found no evidence that the girl was coerced into performing oral sex on him.
Nonetheless the decision has sparked an outcry, led by the girl's family, who are demanding a rape charge be put on the man, who was 28 at the time the sex act was performed. Before the trial began yesterday (February 13) the victim's lawyer argued that it should be adjourned, saying that the idea of consent was nonsense in the case of such a young girl.
The lawyer has also argued that the girl, who is now 12, was shocked and intimidated by the man before performing the sex act, which took place in the lift of a public housing estate.
The defendant's lawyer, however, argues he thought the girl was 17, two years above the age of consent in France, as she had already gone through puberty.
There have recently been several cases of adults having sex with minors in France, last year another man who had sex with an 11-year-old was not found guilty of rape due to no evidence proving the act was forced.
A teacher was also handed a suspended prison sentence last year for having sex with a 14-year-old student.