Parliament backs inquiry into Outreau fiasco

8th December 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Dec 7 (AFP) - French lawmakers voted unanimously on Wednesday to open a parliamentary inquiry after 13 people were found to have been wrongly convicted of child sex offences in one of the country's biggest ever judicial scandals.

PARIS, Dec 7 (AFP) - French lawmakers voted unanimously on Wednesday to open a parliamentary inquiry after 13 people were found to have been wrongly convicted of child sex offences in one of the country's biggest ever judicial scandals.

Last week five men and a woman who had been convicted of taking part in a paedophile network in the northern French town of Outreau were acquitted on appeal following a case that destroyed their lives and reputations.

Seven others were acquitted at the original trial in 2004, and an eighth committed suicide while under investigation. Only four of the 18 originally charged were guilty of the offences.

The 30-member cross-party committee, to start its work next Wednesday, will probe "the failures of the judicial system in the so-called Outreau case and seek ways to prevent them happening again."

A three-way investigation is already under way into the roles of the justice system, police and social services in the affair, and President Jacques Chirac has made a personal apology to each of the people wrongly accused.

The case raised troubling questions about the willingness of social services and psychiatric experts to accept uncorroborated allegations made by young children, and about the power given to lone examining magistrates under the French judicial system.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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