LA judge sets hearing in Polanski case

Roman Polanski’s long-delayed criminal case will return to a Los Angeles court tomorrow for a hearing.

Roman Polanski’s long-delayed criminal case will return to a Los Angeles court tomorrow for a hearing.

Superior Court spokesman Allan Parachini said Judge Peter Espinoza would convene a hearing on the film director’s child sex case.

It is the first time the 32-year-old case will be back in court since a state appeal court last month rejected Polanski’s bid to have it dismissed.

The appeal court, however, suggested the case could end quickly if Polanski’s lawyers agreed to sentencing in absentia or he dropped his opposition to being extradited to the US.

Polanski (aged 76) under house arrest at his Swiss chalet, was arrested in late September on a fugitive warrant.

Los Angeles County district attorney’s spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said Polanski’s lawyers requested an in-chambers conference on the case, but prosecutors objected.

Judge Espinoza then scheduled a public hearing.

Previous in-chambers discussions have proved controversial. Misconduct has been cited in the case because the original judge may have consulted with a former prosecutor about how to sentence Polanski.

There are also conflicting accounts of whether a judge in the late 1990s agreed to resolve the case, but only if the sentencing hearing was televised.

Polanski was initially accused of raping a 13-year-old girl after plying her with champagne and a Quaalude pill during a 1977 modelling photoshoot.

He was indicted on six felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, child molestation and sodomy, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of unlawful sexual intercourse.

He fled to his native France on the eve of sentencing in 1978 after spending 42 days a California prison for a psychiatric evaluation.

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