TODAY.AZ / Arts & Entertainment

Roman Polanski sues photographers for "invading privacy" during Swiss house arrest

30 December 2009 [11:53] - TODAY.AZ
Roman Polanski is suing photographers for £700,000 after claiming his privacy had been invaded while under house arrest.
Roman Polanski said he was overwhelmed by messages of support as he battles extradition to the US to face a decades-old sex case involving a 13-year-old girl
Roman Polanski said he was overwhelmed by messages of support as he battles extradition to the US to face a decades-old sex case involving a 13-year-old girl Photo: AFP/Getty

The 76-year-old film director is currently wearing an electronic tag while on bail in Switzerland after being threatened with deportation to the US over a child sex conviction dating back 30 years.

But now he has filed a complaint of his own in his home city of Paris, claiming his family has been harassed by cameramen in their Alpine chalet in the ski resort of Gstaad.

In a test case which will have worldwide implications, Polanksi's lawyers will argue that even a self-confessed sex offender on bail has a right to privacy, especially as he is staying with his wife and their two teenage children.

The pictures were all taken on public land outside the chalet, which has been used regularly by Polanski since he fled to Europe in 1978 after admitting unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl.

French privacy laws are among the strictest in the world, with the country's courts traditionally siding with the rich and famous.

Paparazzi photographs taken on public beaches and in shopping centres are often considered a breach of the law, although damages are usually extreme low.

Polanski, whose hit films include The Pianist and Rosemary's Baby, won a high-profile libel case in London against US magazine Vanity Fair in 2005.

The publication was found to have defamed him by publishing claims that he tried to seduce a model soon after his pregnant wife, actress Sharon Tate, was stabbed to death by the Charlie Manson gang in their Hollywood home.

Polanski gave evidence via video-link from Paris, where he lives, because he feared that if he travelled to Britain he might be extradited to the US over his 1978 conviction.

It was that conviction that led to Polanski's arrest on a US warrant when he flew into Switzerland on September 26 to attend a film festival.

The director fled the United States in 1978 on the eve of his sentencing for a guilty plea and has never returned.

His lawyers have been fighting to have the case dismissed, saying the trial judge who had been due to sentence the director had planned to go back on a previously agreed plea deal after improperly colluding with prosecutors.

But last week a California appeals court rejected Polanski's bid to have the case dismissed.

However, it demanded an "urgent" inquiry into the filmmaker's allegations of judicial misconduct. Swiss authorities have said they will announce a decision in January on whether Polanski will be extradited to America.

The Polanski privacy case will be held in Paris on January 12th.

/The Daily Telegraph/


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