By Jenny Scott
One of Hollywood’s most notorious
sex cases could finally be brought to an end if Roman Polanski gets his way. The Oscar-winning director is currently seeking the dismissal of a charge that saw him escape the US in 1978 after being convicted for the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl.
A request was filed by Polanski’s lawyers in Los Angeles yesterday as a result of new evidence revealed in the recent documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired. They have alleged that the documentary brought to light “a pattern of misconduct and improper communications” between the district attorney’s office and the judge who handled Polanski’s case.
“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,” said a statement from Polanski’s lawyers.
Polanski, 75, is still a US fugitive and has been living in Paris to avoid an extremely likely custodial sentence. Originally Polanski was indicted on six felony counts, however all but the most serious – unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor – were dropped. As the warrant issued at the time of his arrest remains in force he would undeniably be seized by the authorities and sent to prison – where he could face anything from a 16 month to a three year sentence- if he were ever to set foot back in America.
The celebrated director of “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Chinatown” suffered major career setbacks during the 1980’s and ‘90’s even though at the time of his conviction he was one of the industries most in-demand directors. In spite of his flawed reputation Polanski went on to win the best director Oscar in 2003 for the Holocaust epic “The Pianist.”
Spokeswoman for Los Angeles district attorney Steve Cooley, Sandi Gibbons, said her office had not yet received the papers for Polanski’s case and would not take a position until it had done so. “We’re looking forward to seeing Mr Polanski in Los Angeles to litigate it,” she added
The case is due before the Los Angeles county superior court on January 21.