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Judge refuses to say if Roman Polanski will serve jail time as he plots return to US

Polanski “wants answers – and will only show up if he likes the answers,” the district attorney said.

Image: Vim/ABACA/PA Images

A US JUDGE has rejected an application from film director Roman Polanski, who had sought assurances that he wouldn’t be jailed upon his return to the country.

Polanski fled the US in 1978, after he was accused of drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl at the house of film star Jack Nicholson in 1977.

At the time, he admitted statutory rape after the more serious charges were dropped, and spent 42 days in jail before being released on bail pending his trial.

Convinced a judge would scrap a plea deal that would have seen his jail time limited, the director of Chinatown and The Pianist left the US and has not returned since.

His lawyer Harland Braun told Los Angeles Superior Court the 83-year-old filmmaker, who lives in Paris, had “already done his time” and wanted to resolve the case with a finding that he has completed his sentence.

He asked Judge Scott Gordon to order prosecutors to give some indication of how much time – if any – they want Polanski to serve if he returns.

“The people have unambiguously stated their desire to avoid discussing any substantive issues regarding Polanski’s case until he is physically present in the court’s jurisdiction,” Gordon wrote in a 13-page ruling.

The district attorney is acting well within her discretion to decline to state a position to defendant absent from court and in warrant status.

The district attorney’s office had objected to what they say amounted to an “advance preview” of Polanski’s potential sentence.

“The people simply do not believe that it is in the best interests of justice to give a wealthy celebrity different treatment from any other fugitive from justice,” Deputy District Attorney Michele Hanisee said.

Hanisee wrote in a filing to the court that Polanski “wants answers – but will only show up if he likes the answers.”

“He forfeited his right to make requests of the court when he fled,” she added.

Braun had claimed that documents from the late-1970s showed that a plea deal was agreed between Polanski, the district attorney and the judge which would have seen him serve a limited time in jail.

The director has been locked in a decades-long extradition battle with US authorities. In 2009, he was arrested in Switzerland and spent 10 months under house arrest before the extradition order was rejected.

With reporting from AFP - © – AFP 2017

Read: Roman Polanski wants assurances he won’t serve jail time as he plots return to US

Read: Roman Polanski withdraws from ‘French Oscars’ after backlash over his child rape case

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Sean Murray

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