Page last updated at 13:29 GMT, Monday, 28 September 2009 14:29 UK

Polanski notes leaked on to net

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The Associated Press (AP) news agency has accidentally published internal notes about the arrest of film director Roman Polanski instead of a story.

The document details an exchange of messages between reporters about Mr Polanski, who was held in Switzerland and faces extradition to the US.

In the note, one reporter asks if his colleague can "do some more probing" and speculates that Switzerland was under pressure from the US.

AP swiftly filed a replacement article.

The mistake came to light on 27 September, with the headline "Swiss arrest Polanski on US request in sex case".

But rather than a conventional news story, the post contained basic information as to when the press conference would start, and then continued, saying the reporter would "push out another writethru [sic] with some more background details before press conference", while a colleague wondered if the Swiss were under "intense pressure" and whether they wanted "to throw the US a bone".

Sent in error, the copy was picked up by the Google News service, as well as being automatically posted to a number of websites, including Forbes.

The Associated Press subsequently sent out the proper news copy, saying that "Director Roman Polanski was arrested by Swiss police for possible extradition to the United States for having sex in 1977 with a 13-year-old girl".

Exile

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 minor.

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.

However, the film maker was detained in Zurich on Saturday as he travelled from France to collect a lifetime achievement award at the Zurich Film Festival.

He is being held under a 2005 international alert issued by the US.



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