Polanski rape victim to ask court to end case

Roman Polanski (above).
Roman Polanski (above).

LOS ANGELES•The woman whom fugitive film-maker Roman Polanski (left) admitted he raped 40 years ago was to attend a court hearing in Los Angeles yesterday (today Singapore time), where she hoped to plead for an end to the case, his attorney said.

Ms Samantha Geimer was 13 when Polanski assaulted her in Los Angeles in 1977. In recent years, she has said repeatedly that she has forgiven Polanski, now 83, but yesterday would be the first time she has appeared publicly at a court hearing in the case.

"Samantha Geimer is tired of this. She has been asking the court to terminate this case for years. She wants to get it over with," the director's attorney, Mr Harland Braun, said on Thursday.

He said she would help make the case that Polanski had served his time and should not be punished further.

Get The Straits Times
newsletters in your inbox

Ms Debra Tate, sister of Polanski's murdered wife, actress Sharon Tate, would also attend the court hearing yesterday, Mr Braun said.

Polanski's case has been a cause celebre for 40 years.

Following a 1977 guilty plea to rape and after spending 42 days in jail, he fled the United States, fearing that a plea bargain with prosecutors would be overruled and that he would get a lengthy prison term.

The most recent attempt to resolve matters ended in April, when a Los Angeles judge ruled that the French-Polish director could not cut a deal from abroad to return to the US without serving more jail time.

Mr Braun said the aim of yesterday's hearing at Los Angeles Superior Court was to unseal testimony about the 1977 plea deal and use it as evidence to get the European authorities to rescind the international arrest warrant against Polanski. "We want to have the transcripts, so we can show the people at Interpol that he has already done his time," the attorney said.

It was unclear whether Ms Geimer or Ms Tate would be permitted to address the court at the hearing. If they are not, they will make their case to the media outside, Mr Braun said.

The Los Angeles District Attorney's office, which has fought to have Polanski face justice in the US, said it would ask the court to deny Mr Braun's request and any others "in the absence of new facts or a change of circumstance".

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 10, 2017, with the headline 'Polanski rape victim to ask court to end case'. Print Edition | Subscribe