Polanski faces arrest to clear his name

Director has to return to US if he wants to win appeal against 1978 rape verdict

More than three decades after Roman Polanski admitted having sex with a 13-year-old girl, a judge has ruled that there was “substantial misconduct” in his rape trial but said that an appeal could only be heard if he returned to the US.

Peter Espinoza, a judge at Los Angeles Superior Court, told the Oscar-winning director’s legal team that he believed the judge in the 1978 case had acted improperly by arranging a plea bargain only to later renege on it.

However, Polanski, who fled to France before being sentenced, cannot formally clear his name without flying back to the US, where there is still a warrant for his arrest, and agreeing to “submit himself to the jurisdiction” of the US justice system. In a Catch-22 situation, Polanski must return to Los Angeles for a hearing on 7 May for the appeal to go ahead, but that would also lead to his arrest and possible imprisonment.

“Having reviewed all the evidence in this case, there was substantial misconduct that occurred in the pendency,” said Judge Espinoza, whose verdict was informed by last year’s HBO documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired. “He just needs to submit to the jurisdiction of this court.”

The judge’s comments are the latest development in a soap opera which began in 1977, when Polanski was arrested for having sex with Samantha Geimer, a 13-year-old model he had hired for a magazine photo shoot.

He was accused of plying the girl with the sedative Quaaludes and with several glasses of champagne before taking her into a hot tub and having sex with her at the actor Jack Nicholson’s house in the Hollywood hills.

Polanski was initially indicted on six felony counts and faced life in prison but in a plea bargain that saw five counts dismissed, he admitted to unlawful sexual intercourse, hoping to serve just over 40 days in prison.

However in 1978, when it became clear that he in fact faced a far longer sentence, Polanski absconded to France, which has highly limited extradition agreements with the US.

Despite having never apologised for his actions, the director, now aged 75, remains strangely popular in Hollywood circles, where many seem bemused by all the fuss and believe he was the victim of a media vendetta.

He has continued to direct successful films from Europe and in 2002 he was awarded his first Oscar, for The Pianist, while in exile.

Ms Geimer, who is now aged 45 and the mother of four children, also came forward to call for the case to be dropped, saying in a legal submission in support of Polanski’s appeal that: “the time has come for this case to end.”

Whether Polanski will take the risk of returning to the US is another matter. In his original appeal, which was filed in December, he said he had no intention of ever setting foot in the country again.

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?