Poland's Supreme Court denied an appeal that would extradite director Roman Polanski to the U.S. where he faces charges of statutory rape dating back to 1977.
A lower court denied the extradition request in 2015, according to the Daily Mail. Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro appealed that decision, on the grounds that no one should be above the law.
The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal. Judge Michal Laskowski made it clear that it was not the court’s role to rule on the merits of the case, but whether the lower court followed due process.
“We did not find a flagrant violation of the law,” Laskowski said.
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He further noted certain circumstances of the case, making it clear that they had no legal bearing: “More than 38 years have passed since the incident. The victim in this case publicly forgave Roman Polanski. He paid her the monetary damages she requested.”
The victim is Samantha Geimer, then Gailey. After a 1977 photo-shoot, Geimer accused Polanski of drugging her and then forcing her to have sex with him. She was 13, and he was 43.
Polanski agreed to a plea bargain for unlawful sex with a minor, for which he served 42 days in jail, and underwent psychiatric evaluation.
In 1978, after he became convinced that U.S. judges would reneg on his plea deal, Polanski fled to France. In Switzerland, in 2009, he was arrested on a U.S. extradition request, and spent 10 months on house arrest before the request was denied.
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Variety reports that Jan Olszewski, one of Polanski’s lawyers says that the director is “beyond happy that this is finally over. At least in Poland.”
The US charges against Polanski still stand, but Olszewski says that the Supreme Court’s decision might sway American prosecutors to stand down. He said, “We hope that this ruling becomes a stimulus for the American side to perhaps use existing legal opportunities to issue a ruling in absentia and consider the penalty served.”
Polanski is currently in France shooting a film about the Dreyfus Affair.