Page last updated at 10:56 GMT, Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Court denies Polanski dismissal

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

Roman Polanski's request that a 1977 rape case against him is dismissed has been denied by a US judge because the film director is still a fugitive.

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.

A further hearing on 7 May will give Mr Polanski the chance to appear in court.

The judge asked to be forewarned if the director was planning to appear on that date so that the court had time to arrange security. The case has drawn a high level of media attention.

Cruel joke

Mr Polanski has previously said he had no plans to return to the US.

If he returns the likelihood is that he faces arrest on a fugitive warrant.

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, 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."

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