February 25, 2015 / 9:09 AM / 2 years ago

Polish court adjourns Polanski's extradition case

Filmmaker Roman Polanski arrives for a court hearing in Krakow February 25, 2015. Polanski appeared in a Polish court on Wednesday at a hearing to consider a U.S. request for his extradition over a 1977 child sex crime conviction.Kacper Pempel

KRAKOW (Reuters) - Filmmaker Roman Polanski testified for nine hours at a closed-door hearing in his native Poland on Wednesday regarding a U.S. request for his extradition over a 1977 child sex crime conviction.

The court subsequently adjourned until April.

"This was tiring and painful, because I've had to return to things that I would prefer to forget," Polanski, aged 81, told reporters as he left the courtroom.

Beata Gorszczyk, spokeswoman for the district court in the southern city of Krakow, said the court would break for several weeks to study documents presented by Polanski's defense that had been used in Switzerland in a similar case in 2010.

The Oscar-winning filmmaker pleaded guilty in 1977 to having sex with a 13-year-old girl during a photoshoot in Los Angeles fueled by champagne and drugs.

Polanski served 42 days in jail as part of a 90-day plea bargain. He fled the United States the following year, believing the judge hearing his case could overrule the deal and put him in jail for years.

In 2009, Polanski was arrested in Zurich on a U.S. warrant and placed under house arrest. He was freed in 2010 after Swiss authorities decided not to extradite him.

Dariusz Mazur, the judge presiding over the Polish case said earlier on Wednesday the filmmaker's lawyers had handed in preliminary documents in English and in German from the extradition proceedings in Switzerland.

One of Polanski's lawyers, Jan Olszewski, said after the hearing that they will aim to prove that the U.S. extradition request was unjustified given the U.S. plea bargain.

"I still have faith in the Polish administration of justice," said Polanski, looking extremely weary.

Polanski's hearing started at 0900 GMT and was closed to the media. The court approved that food from the local canteen be brought to the courtroom during the day.

Under Polish law, if the court rules in favor of the extradition, it will then be passed on to the justice minister who will make the final decision.

Reporting by Wojciech Zurawski; Writing by Agnieszka Barteczko and Marcin Goettig; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Crispian Balmer

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