24 Jan 2010

Polanski must appear in US court - ruling

8:21 am on 24 January 2010

Film director Roman Polanski has lost a bid to be sentenced without having to return to the United States.

He faces an arrest warrant over his conviction, 32 years ago, for unlawful sex with a girl, then aged 13.

A judge ruled on Friday that Mr Polanski, 76, must be present in court if he wants to resolve the case.

Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza said he was acting to protect "the dignity of the court." Polanski's lawyer said he would appeal the ruling.

The BBC reports Polanski was arrested in Switzerland last September over his 1977 conviction for unlawful sex with the girl.

He left the United States in 1978 before he could be sentenced and has never returned. He is under house arrest and is fighting extradition.

The director's 2002 drama The Pianist, a story of an escape from a Warsaw ghetto during World War II, won the Palme D'Or award at Cannes and also an Oscar for best director.

His most recent works include The Ghost Writer, about a writer hired to complete the memoirs of a former British prime minister.

In 2005, he directed a remake of Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.