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French court overturns pedophile convictions in botched case

[JURIST] [JURIST Europe] A Paris court on Thursday overturned the convictions [JURIST report] of six people who were found guilty of pedophilia last year. The six, and several others, had been accused of raping their own and other children, after a seven-year-old boy reported that he had been raped by adults at orgies at his parents' apartment. The boy's mother, Myriam Delay, had first exonerated the defendants but then reaccused them during the trial. The French justice system has been widely criticized for its handling of the case [BBC report], with many questioning why court magistrates accepted DeLay's testimony and that of her children despite the inconsistencies in their testimony. Justice Minister Pascal Clement [official profile, in French] apologized for the handling of the case [press release], and said that President Jacques Chirac has ordered an inquiry into the "disaster." Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin has promised compensation for those wrongly accused. Reuters has more. Le Monde has local coverage.

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