Friday, May 08, 2009

JUDGE TURNS DOWN POLANSKI REQUEST

Roman Polanski
The director will not film in the UK to avoid being extradited.

A US judge has formally rejected Roman Polanski's request that a 1978 rape case against him is dismissed.

Judge Peter Espinoza agreed there was misconduct by the judge in the original case, but said Mr Polanski must return to the US to apply for dismissal.

Mr Polanski fled to France in 1978 before he could be sentenced for having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl.

Mr Polanski's lawyers said he would not return to the US because he would be immediately arrested as a fugitive.

He cannot be extradited from France.

The judge had asked to be forewarned if the director planned to appear in court, in order to give time to arrange security. The case has drawn a high level of media attention.

The director put in his request to have the conviction dismissed after a documentary about him, Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, uncovered new facts about the case.

The film suggested that the judge who heard the original case, and who has since died, agreed a plea bargain with the director but then went back on the deal after intervention by the prosecution.

Judge Espinoza watched the documentary and said he thought there had been "substantial misconduct", but that the Oscar-winning director was not entitled to challenge the ruling while on the run.

The girl in the original case, Samantha Geimer, is now 45. She has previously said that asking Mr Polanski to appear in person would be a "cruel joke".

A lawyer acting on her behalf said in court: "The time has come for this case to end."

BBC NEWS REPORT.

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