The rape trial of a French paedophile who has asked to be physically castrated begins today. Francis Evrard, who has already spent 30 years in prison for sex offences, is accused of kidnapping and raping a 5-year-old boy in 2007.He is reported to have written to President Nicholas Sarkozy asking to have testicles surgically removed. The boy’s father claims the request is simply an attempt by the defendant to influence the court into believing he is remorseful. The case has fuelled a debate in France about the punishment of sex crimes. The government is considering forcing some offenders to undergo chemical castration, but the physical castration Evrard has asked for is not legal. France, along with a number of other European countries, already allows the use of drugs to lower the sex drive of convicts who agree to it.