Page last updated at 13:28 GMT, Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Polanski court request is denied

Roman Polanski
Roman Polanski fled to France after pleading guilty in the original case.

Film director Roman Polanski's request to have a hearing over a rape charge against him heard outside the Los Angeles court system has been denied.

Mr Polanski admitted unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977, but fled the country before sentencing. He is now trying to get the case dismissed.

His lawyer had argued that the entire Los Angeles Superior Court bench was biased against the filmmaker.

A panel of three appeal court judges disagreed and sent the case back to LA.

Personal appearance

The Los Angeles Superior Court now has to decide whether Mr Polanski needs to be there in person for the hearing to dismiss the rape case.

It was the issue of whether Mr Polanski, now 75, needs to attend the hearing which prompted his lawyer, Chad Hummel, to accuse the LA courts of bias.

The Polish-born filmmaker lives in exile in France, and has not set foot in the States for more than 30 years. He has even avoided shooting in the UK for fear of extradition.

His Oscar for directing 2002's The Pianist was collected by Harrison Ford.

A court spokesman had told media outlets that Polanski was required to be present for his hearing.

Hummel claimed this showed that the court had pre-judged the case and asked for a judge from outside the area to take charge.

Prosecutors countered that the claim was "patently frivolous" and based on "mere conclusions with no factual basis".

Renewed action

The victim of the original unlawful sex case, Samantha Geimer is now aged 45.

She has stated that forcing Mr Polanski to appear in person is a "cruel joke" and asked for the case against him be dropped.

The revival of legal action in the 31-year-old case was prompted by the documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired.

Mr Polanski's legal team say the 2008 film helped to prove that the original conviction was unsound due to "judicial and prosecutorial misconduct".

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