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US court denies Polanski breathing space in rape case

Roman Polanski has been accused of drugging a 13-year-old and raping her at actor?Jack Nicholson's house in Los Angeles in 1977. Photograph: (AFP)

AFP Los Angeles, CA, United States Apr 03, 2017, 11.47 PM (IST)

A judge in the United States has rejected filmmaker Roman Polanski's assurances that he won't be jailed for raping a minor girl if he returns to the US.

The critically acclaimed director has been accused of drugging a 13-year-old and raping her at actor Jack Nicholson's house in Los Angeles in 1977.

He admitted statutory rape after a number of more serious charges were dropped, and spent an initial 42 days in jail before getting out on bail ahead of his trial.

But in 1978, convinced a judge was going to scrap his plea deal and send him to prison for decades, he fled for France and has been on the run ever since.

Polanski's attorney Harland Braun told Los Angeles Superior Court that the Oscar-winning director had "already done his time" and wished to resolve the four-decade old case.

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.

Gordon ruled however that there was "no sufficient or compelling basis for reconsideration of these issues." 

"Moreover, counsel for defendant has not presented sufficient credible, admissible evidence or legal arguments to warrant the relief requested," Gordon wrote in a 13-page ruling.    

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. 

Polanski has been engaged in a decades-long cat-and-mouse game with US officials seeking his extradition for trial, before a global audience split between continuing outrage and forgiveness for his acts.

(WION with inputs from AFP)

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