Page last updated at 11:29 GMT, Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Polanski 'has no US return plan'

Roman Polanski
Mr Polanski's screen credits include Tess and Rosemary's Baby

Roman Polanski has "no plans ever to return" to America despite his campaign to dismiss a 1977 US charge of unlawful sex with a minor, his lawyer has said.

His motivation was to ensure that legal system "misconduct" did not go unpunished, Chad Hummel said in papers.

But the film-maker, 75, need not appear in a Los Angeles court, they added.

Mr Polanski 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.

Since then, Mr 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.

The course of what happens here will have an enduring legacy for the justice system
Chad Hummel
Lawyer for Roman Polanski

"Mr Polanski has no plans ever to return to the United States," Mr Hummel said in the documents, filed with the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

"But the course of what happens here will have an enduring legacy for the justice system."

The Polish-born director's legal team are basing their bid on a recent documentary about the case which they say 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".

Mr Hummel said the documentary revealed "a pattern of misconduct and improper communications" between the district attorney's office and the judge in the case.

Arrest risk

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.

The judge had planned to change Mr Polanski's already-agreed sentence, Mr Hummel said.

That was why his client had fled the US, he added.

The waiver does not count anymore. There is a warrant out for his arrest
District attorney's spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons

The district attorney's office has made no comment about the matter, saying the legal case is ongoing.

A hearing has been scheduled for 21 January but Mr Polanski could not return without risking arrest.

His legal team say Mr Polanski, who won the best director Oscar in 2002 for holocaust drama The Pianist, does not need to be present for the court to rule on his dismissal motion.

They say he had originally signed a waiver agreeing that he did not need to appear at any hearings related to the case.

Samantha Geimer
Samantha Geimer has called for the case to be dropped
But district attorney's spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said: "The waiver does not count anymore. There is a warrant out for his arrest."

Mr Polanski's latest submission follows a written declaration to the court by Samantha Geimer - the victim of the statutory rape case - asking that the charges against him be dropped.

She said the continued publication of details of the case "causes harm to me, my husband and children".

She added that the court's insistence that Mr Polanski appeared in court in person on 21 January was "a cruel joke".

"If Polanski cannot stand before the court to make this request, I, as the victim, can and I, as the victim, do," she added.

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