Roman Polanski’s no-jail return bid rejected in the US


Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski has failed in his bid to bring an end to his long-running child sex abuse case.
The film-maker pleaded guilty to having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl at actor Jack Nicholson’s house but fled the US on the eve of sentencing in 1978.

Lawyers for the 83-year-old said he was willing to return to America after nearly 40 years on the run if he was assured he would not serve more jail time.

At a hearing before Judge Scott Gordon last month, prosecutors urged Polanski to return to the US for sentencing and said he not receive special treatment as a “wealthy celebrity”.

In a statement on Monday, a Los Angeles Superior Court spokesman said: “Judge Gordon has ruled that defendant’s motions and corresponding requests are denied.”

Polanski, who now lives in France, fled the US after spending 42 days in jail when he feared a now-deceased judge was going to extend his sentence. His lawyer Harland Braun told a hearing last month that Polanski’s crime was “indefensible” but his client had been “lied to” by the court about the sentence he would receive.

“This is a very unique case,” Mr Braun said. “He is an 83-year-old man with a 40-year-old case that he wants to wrap up.” Polanski had served 10 and a half months in custody in the US and Switzerland, Mr Braun said.
“He knows what he was promised,” Mr Braun added. “We know he has served eight times what he was promised.”
Mr Braun claimed the victim also wanted “this thing over with” and called for a warrant issued for Polanski’s arrest to be dropped.

Prosecutor Michele Hanisee said the French-Polish director was asking for “special treatment” and for the court to “completely abandon legal principles”.

She told the court: “The People simply do not believe it is in the best interests of justice to give a wealthy celebrity – and that’s what Mr Polanski is – different treatment than any other fugitive from justice.

“If Mr Polanski returns, the People are confident he will get a fair hearing here in this court.”
Another court hearing will held on April 26 to consider a motion brought by Polanski’s lawyers to unseal evidence given by original prosecutor Roger Gunson.

Polanski won the Oscar for best director for 2002 film The Pianist and earned nominations for 1974’s Chinatown starring Nicholson and 1979 film Tess.

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