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US judge rejects Roman Polanski's bid to end sex abuse case

A Los Angeles judge has rejected Roman Polanski's bid to end his long-running under-age sex abuse case without the fugitive director appearing in court or being sentenced to more prison time.

Superior Court Judge Scott M Gordon refused to address how Polanski would be sentenced if he returned to the US after 40 years abroad.

He noted that other courts, including a California appellate court, have ruled that the Oscar winner is a fugitive and must return to Los Angeles for sentencing.

"There is no sufficient or compelling basis for reconsideration of these issues," Judge Gordon wrote.

Polanski was charged with six offences in 1977 after he was accused of plying a 13-year-old girl with champagne and part of a sedative pill, then raping her at actor Jack Nicholson's house.

Polanski pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a minor, but fled Los Angeles on the eve of sentencing in 1978. He has sought to resolve the case several times without personally appearing in court.

His travel has since been confined to three countries: his native France, Switzerland and Poland, where he fled the Holocaust.

The victim has said she forgives the Rosemary's Baby director and believes the case should end.

Polanski, 83, has long contended that he is the victim of judicial misconduct because a now-deceased judge who handled the case suggested in private remarks that he would renege on a plea bargain and sentencing agreement. It called for no more time behind bars for the director after he spent 42 days in a prison undergoing a diagnostic screening.

Polanski's lawyer, Harland Braun, said Judge Gordon's order failed to address what he called the central issue in the case - misconduct by several previous judges who handled the case.

Polanski contends emails show that several judges had discussed how Polanski had to return to Los Angeles for sentencing.

"It seems like this just another cover-up," Mr Braun said in an interview.

He said his efforts were aimed at seeing if the judicial system could fix previous errors in the case, and whether it was "capable of healing itself".

"In that regard, Judge Gordon proved that he cannot," Mr Braun said.

Judge Gordon's ruling says Polanski and Mr Braun had "not presented sufficient credible, admissible evidence or legal arguments to warrant the requested relief".

Previous rulings have stated that the only way Polanski can address his allegations is to return to Los Angeles for his sentencing hearing. That is likely to involve him being arrested and serving additional time behind bars while he awaits a hearing.

Mr Braun has said Polanski's confinement in jail and house arrest in Switzerland during a failed extradition effort in 2009 and 2010 meant the director has already served his sentence.

The ruling came two weeks after Judge Gordon convened a hearing to address several requests by Polanski's lawyer. Los Angeles prosecutors, who declined to comment on Monday's ruling, vehemently opposed any ruling that would end the case without Polanski's appearance in court.

Deputy District Attorney Michele Hanisee said Polanski was asking Judge Gordon to give a "wealthy celebrity different treatment than any other fugitive".

Polanski won an Academy Award for best director for his 2002 film The Pianist and was nominated for 1974's Chinatown and 1979's Tess.

AP

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