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Los Angeles court hears Polanski case

An appeals court in Los Angeles has heard arguments that could decide the fate of Roman Polanski's sex case.

The court was asked to decide if it should order a Superior Court judge to consider dismissing the case without the 76-year-old film director’s attendance.

Polanski was arrested in September as he tried entering Switzerland and is now under house arrest at his chalet in the Swiss resort of Gstaad.

His defence argued for dismissal of the director's 1977 guilty plea for having sex with an underage girl, citing judicial misconduct. The defence claims he did not receive a fair trial at the time of the crime.

Prosecutors said that the case should proceed since Polanski had been arrested and should return to Los Angeles to face sentencing.

The three-judge appeals panel is expected to rule within 90 days. Among its options are asking a lower court to reconsider dismissing the case, or doing nothing at all.

Polanski has been a wanted man since he fled to France on the eve of sentencing in 1978 for having unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl.

Polanski was initially indicted on six felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, child molesting and sodomy. He later pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse.

The appeals court also heard from an attorney for Polanski's victim, who also wants the case dismissed.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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