French lawmakers vote for ‘right to make mistakes’

The “right to make mistakes” is part of reforms President Emmanuel Macron touted during his electoral campaign to allow citizens to make a mistake in good faith in their dealings with the authorities. (AFP)
Updated 24 January 2018
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French lawmakers vote for ‘right to make mistakes’

PARIS: French lawmakers have voted for a flagship article in a new law which will give citizens the “right to make mistakes” in dealings with the government without being automatically punished.
The article, which was adopted by a show of hands Tuesday night in the National Assembly, is the “cornerstone” of a law for “a state in the service of a trustworthy society,” according to the government.
The law is part of reforms President Emmanuel Macron touted during his electoral campaign to allow citizens to make a mistake in good faith in their dealings with the authorities without risking punishment from the first infringement.
It will be up to the administration to prove that the person was acting in bad faith.
“The expansion of the right to make a mistake adopted by the Assembly just now!” minister of public action and accounts Gerald Darmanin said on Twitter.
“It is a revolution in the relations between the administration and the administered.”
To err is human but the divine forgiveness of the government will be “limited to the first mistake,” according to a change made to the article at the insistence of dissenters.
At the opening of debate, the minister said the government had listened to “the French who like their public services but not their administration,” citing a letter of grievances sent him by one “Alexandre.”
Lawmakers will have to consider dozens of further articles in the bill on the extent of the right to make mistakes.
The right to err will not apply in a number of cases, such as public health.
Considered a “catch-all” by some officials, the bill deals with subjects as diverse as modifying procedures for obtaining a permit for the installation of wind farms at sea or the possibility of making donations to churches by SMS.


Mother who hid baby in car boot jailed in France

Rosa Maria Da Cruz, the mother of Serena, looks on during her trial, at the Assize Court of Tulle, central France, on November 12, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 12 min 42 sec ago
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Mother who hid baby in car boot jailed in France

  • The case caused horror in France where Da Cruz’s partner Domingos Sampaio Alves, an unemployed bricklayer, claimed he had no idea his partner had given birth to another child

TULLE, France: A French court on Friday sentenced a mother who kept her baby hidden in the maggot-infested boot of her car to a five-year jail term, three years of which were suspended.
Rosa Maria Da Cruz, a Portuguese-born mother of four, kept her daughter Serena hidden away until she was nearly two, leaving her with serious mental disabilities.
In 2013, a mechanic discovered the baby in the filthy boot of Da Cruz’s car when she took it to be repaired.
Hearing a noise, he opened the trunk to discover the baby in a car seat, naked, filthy and dehydrated. She was surrounded by maggots and excrement.
The infant had also been kept in an unused room at the family home in the Correze region of central France.
The case caused horror in France where Da Cruz’s partner Domingos Sampaio Alves, an unemployed bricklayer, claimed he had no idea his partner had given birth to another child.
The child, who is now seven and in foster care, suffers from severe mental impairments, including irreversible autism, which medical experts have linked to sensory deprivation during her early months.
Da Cruz and Alves were allowed to keep their three other children, whom a paediatrician described as having been “perfectly raised.”