Polanski to testify by video in Paris for libel case

11th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, Feb 11 (AFP) - Filmmaker Roman Polanski has won the right to give evidence by video link in a British court, in a libel case he has brought against US magazine Vanity Fair.

LONDON, Feb 11 (AFP) - Filmmaker Roman Polanski has won the right to give evidence by video link in a British court, in a libel case he has brought against US magazine Vanity Fair.

Britain's top legal authority, the Law Lords, ruled on Thursday that Polanski could give testimony by video, thereby sparing him the risk of being extradited from a London courtroom to the United States.

Polanksi, 71, has lived in France since fleeing the United States after being charged there in 1977 for having sex with a 13-year-old girl.

Despite being thrice nominated for best director at the Academy Awards, winning the Oscar in 2003 for "The Pianist", the Polish-born director has not returned to the United States, and continues to fear arrest over the affair.

He sued Vanity Fair over a 2002 article which accused him of seducing a woman on the way back from the funeral of his actress wife Sharon Tate, who was brutally murdered in 1969.

Polanski took the case to the Law Lords after the Court of Appeal ruled last year that he could not give evidence via video link but would have to appear in person.

The top British court ruled that despite Polanski's "fugitive status" he was entitled to the assistance of the court and protection of his civil rights.

"Despite his fugitive status, a fugitive from justice is entitled to invoke the assistance of the court and its procedures in protection of his civil rights," Lord Nicholls wrote.

Conde Nast, the publisher of Vanity Fair, said the ruling would not affect the substance of the case, and warned it would "vigorously defend" its imprint, a society and people-driven monthly.

It also said the trial would likely be heard in several months' time and estimated the cost of Polanski's video link from Paris, during a five- to six-day trial, at GBP 30,000 (EUR 44,000).

© AFP

Subject: French News

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