Entertainment

US court of appeal agrees to unseal documents in Roman Polanski rape case

It comes less than 48 hours after the Los Angeles District Attorney's office said they would no longer object to the document's release.

A US court of appeal has ordered that a key transcript sought by Roman Polanski can be unsealed, so that the filmmaker’s 45-year-old rape case might be re-examined.

It comes less than 48 hours after the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office said they would no longer object to the document’s release.

District Attorney George Gascon said the decision was made following a letter from Samantha Geimer, the victim in the case, who has sought for years to have the case dismissed.

She was 13 years old when Polanski pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting her.

Polanski pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor in August 1977 but fled the United States to France before a sentencing hearing.

61st Cannes Film Festival – Closing Ceremony
Polanski pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor in August 1977 but fled the United States (Joel Ryan/PA)

He has lived abroad ever since.

“We are pleased the appellate court agreed with both the victim and our office about the need for transparency,” Gascon said.

“The court’s decision helped us move toward upholding our responsibility to tell the public the truth, and to listen to survivors.

“We hope it gives her a small measure of assurance that eventually, she can have some measure of closure in this decades-long litigation.”

The District Attorney’s office said Ms Geimer had been notified of the courts’ decision and was “very grateful” that their position was supported.

Roman Polanski in 1977
Roman Polanski in 1977 – the year he pled guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor (Aleksander Jalosinski/Alamy/PA)

She stated: “It’s never too late to do the right thing.”

It is unclear how long the process of unsealing the documents will take.

Polanski, known for films such as The Pianist and Chinatown, remains a fugitive from justice and has been urged to surrender himself to the Los Angeles County Superior Court to be sentenced.

The director was married to actress Sharon Tate, and shared a house with her before her murder at the hands of the Manson Family cult in 1969.