Page last updated at 05:24 GMT, Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Bid to scrap Polanski sex charge

Roman Polanski
Roman Polanski spent his early years in France before moving to Poland

Lawyers for Oscar-winning film director Roman Polanski have asked a California court to dismiss a 30-year-old charge of unlawful sex with a minor.

They said they had new evidence showing "judicial and prosecutorial misconduct" had distorted the legal process.

Polanski, 75, has lived in France since fleeing the US in 1978 to avoid facing a prison sentence after pleading guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old girl.

He was initially indicted on six felony counts and faced up to life in prison.

Since then, Polanski has been unable to return to the US for fear of arrest, and has even avoided making films in the UK because of the danger of extradition.

'Pattern of misconduct'

In a motion filed with the Los Angeles County Superior Court, lawyers for the Polish-born director said a recent documentary about him had revealed that "judicial and prosecutorial misconduct... so distorted the legal process that the interests of justice can only be served with complete dismissal of the case".

This case serves as a classic example of how our justice system can be abused
Chad Hummel and Brad Dalton
Lawyers for Roman Polanski

The documentary, Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, portrays the late Superior Court Judge Laurence Rittenband as a publicity seeker, who held several news conferences and extrajudicial meetings about the case.

In an interview for the film, former Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney David Wells admits having advised the Judge Rittenband on how to sentence Polanski, even though he was not assigned to the case.

Polanski's lawyers, Chad Hummel and Brad Dalton, said the documentary had uncovered "a pattern of misconduct and improper communications" between prosecutors and the judge.

"This case serves as a classic example of how our justice system can be abused, and defendants' rights trampled, by an unholy alliance between courts and criminal prosecutors," they added.

A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office said it had not seen the request for dismissal.

"As far as we're concerned it is a matter between Mr Polanski and the court," Sandi Gibbons told Reuters.

Ms Gibbons said Polanski was a fugitive and that there was still a warrant out for his arrest. A hearing is scheduled for 21 January.



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Roman riot as Polanski hits Turin
26 Nov 08 |  Entertainment
Rosemary's Baby author Levin dies
14 Nov 07 |  Entertainment
Film 'planned' on Polanski's life
09 Nov 07 |  Entertainment
Polanski 'withdraws from Pompeii'
11 Sep 07 |  Entertainment
Italian director quits Turin post
31 Dec 06 |  Entertainment
Roman Polanski: Film's dark prince
12 Jul 10 |  Entertainment

RELATED BBC LINKS


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific