He is also the man who admitted the drugging and sexual abuse of a thirteen year old girl, while he was photographing her for a magazine in 1977. He fled the USA before he could be sentenced and has been openly ‘on the run’ ever since, living mainly in France.
Last weekend, he was detained in Switzerland while travelling to the Zurich Film Festival where he was expected to receive a Lifetime Achievement award. He now faces being extradited back to the USA.
Polanski is now 76 years old and has lived what can only be described as an eventful life. He was the son of parents with both Polish and Jewish backgrounds and he was forced to run from the Germans, when they sealed off his Jewish Ghetto in Krakov, in 1940. His mother died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz.
With this background, it is hardly surprising that Polanski has lived his life in the headlines.
His thirteen year old victim was plied with drugs and champagne before Polanski had unlawful sex with her at the home of the actor Jack Nicholson. Of course, despite admitting his guilt, he maintains that the girl was sexually experienced and her participation was consensual.
So, should Polanski be dragged back to the US after 32 years, to be sentenced for his crime?
The answer has to be yes.
He may well be a famous old man but he is also a self confessed child abuser. The passage of time does not erase the act that took place over thirty years ago, or change it’s status in law.
Polanski maintains that the legal process, after he was charged, was flawed and the prosecutor and judge dealing with his case had been negligent.
If he has a case to make against the legal procedures prior to the time of his escape, now is the time to challenge them.
The law is the benchmark by which all decent society survives. It cannot be allowed to suffer from alzheimers.
Polanski must go back and face his past. Celebrity, fame and wealth, cannot be allowed to re-write the truth.
Perhaps, Polanski is about to receive his Lifetime Achievement Award after all!