Polanski victim no right to intervene: prosecutors

Fri Apr 16, 2010 9:43pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Prosecutors on Friday urged a California appeals court to deny a bid by the victim in Roman Polanski's sex crime to have the decades-old case against the film director thrown out.

In court documents, prosecutors said Samantha Geimer, who was 13 years old when unlawful sex charges were brought against Polanski in 1977, has "no right or authority to dictate the outcome of a criminal case."

Geimer has long sought to end the long-running legal case, arguing that she has become a victim of the battle to bring the fugitive director to justice.

"Samantha Geimer was first victimized by Polanski. Whatever harm was done to her 33 years ago by Polanski is now a memory. Samantha Geimer is currently victimized by the judicial system in the maintenance of a prosecution, stale of fact and devoid of current purpose," her lawyer argued in court papers.

Geimer was an aspiring child model in 1977 who went to a Hollywood house for a photo-shoot with Polanski. Now a mother of three children who lives quietly in Hawaii, she publicly forgave the director in 1997.

Polanski, now 76, pleaded guilty to having unlawful sex with a minor but fled California in 1978 before being sentenced because he thought the judge at the time would make him spend more time in jail than he had agreed to in a plea bargain.

The Oscar-winning director of "The Pianist" was arrested in Switzerland in September last year on a U.S. warrant and is currently under house arrest in Switzerland.

Swiss officials have said they are awaiting the result of U.S. legal proceedings before deciding whether to extradite him.

Prosecutors have demanded Polanski return to California for sentencing, which could see him spending years in jail.

But Polanski's Los Angeles lawyers are trying to have him sentenced in his absence to the 42 days he already served in 1978 for a psychiatric evaluation. They have also claimed judicial misconduct in the original case.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Eric Walsh)