US judge rejects Polanski's request

File photo of director Roman Polanski at the screening of the film Saint-Laurent at the 67th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, on May 17, 2014.
File photo of director Roman Polanski at the screening of the film Saint-Laurent at the 67th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, on May 17, 2014.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK •A Los Angeles County judge denied a request on Monday from film director Roman Polanski that his decades-old sexual abuse case be resolved in his absence.

Judge Scott M. Gordon of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County refused to provide Polanski, 83, the clarity he sought on how he might be detained and sentenced were he to return to the United States.

The requests, Mr Gordon found, mirrored those Polanski had made before and that other judges had denied. "There is no sufficient or compelling basis for reconsideration of these issues," he ruled.

Polanski fled the country in 1978 when he feared a judge would withdraw a deal he had struck after he pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl.

The court has ruled that Polanski, who has evaded extradition for decades while living in Switzerland, Poland and elsewhere, must return to the US to resolve the case.

Mr Harold Braun, Polanski's lawyer, said Monday's ruling ignored what he referred to as "the central issue" of misconduct by previous judges, whom he accused of deciding in advance how to rule in the case. "We have an 83-year-old defendant on a 40- year-old case that we're still wasting our time litigating," he said.

The court on Monday did, however, announce an April 26 hearing to discuss a separate request by Polanski that it unseal testimony from Mr Roger Gunson, a former deputy district attorney who handled the case in the 1970s.

Mr Braun has argued that Mr Gunson's 2010 testimony is critical to proving that Polanski had served the time necessary after his 1977 guilty plea. The lawyer has said the director wants to visit the California grave of his wife, Sharon Tate, who was murdered by followers of cult leader Charles Manson in 1969.

NYTIMES, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 05, 2017, with the headline 'US judge rejects Polanski's request'. Print Edition | Subscribe