Sexual assault case director Paul Haggis rejected by Italian court

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A judge in the southern Italian city of Lecce has ruled there is no need to investigate further allegations that Oscar-winning Canadian director Paul Haggis had sex with a young woman without her consent.

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The court ruled in favor of Haggis late on Friday, the Italian news agency ANSA reported on Saturday.

“After reviewing the evidence and hearing arguments from both sides, the Lecce Court, a three-judge appeals court, has unanimously dismissed the prosecutor’s appeal to reinstate Haggis under house arrest,” Haggis said. Italian lawyer Michele Laforgia in a statement. on Saturday.

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Paul Haggis was accused of having sex with a young woman without her consent. (Getty)

Haggis, who won two Oscars for Crash and is also known for writing Million Dollars Babywas arrested on June 19 in Ostuni, a location in the southern region of Puglia, on the heels of the Italian boot, on charges of sexually assaulting a 28-year-old British woman over the course of two days in June.

The 69-year-old director spent 16 days under house arrest in a hotel before being released from detention.

“Two weeks ago, Judge Vilma Gilli of the Brindisi High Court questioned the alleged victim and immediately overturned Haggis’ house arrest,” Laforgia said in the statement.

Brindisi’s prosecutor appealed her decision to the Lecce District Court, where Haggis’ lawyer, he said, “is irrefutable and objective evidence that the woman has told multiple lies to investigators and the court, with facts and witnesses that fully support her story.” contradict”. the lawyer added.

There was no immediate comment from the alleged victim’s legal team.

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Laforgia stated that Haggis’s arrest was the result of a judicial error and based on the evidence, prosecutors must now close the case. This is expected to happen in the coming weeks unless new evidence emerges.

Paul Haggis arrives at a screening for the release of the DVD box set of the "Dirty Harry" 2008 Los Angeles movie franchise. (AAP)
Haggis is also facing legal action in the US for an alleged rape in 2013.

On Friday evening, the Lecce court contacted lawyers from both sides to inform them of the court’s decision, dismissing the prosecutor’s appeal and upholding Judge Gilli’s decision. Four judges have now ruled in favor of Haggis.

“In the coming weeks, the reasons for the decision will be known and thus the fate of the legal proceedings pending in Italy,” Laforgia said in the statement.

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Haggis is also facing legal proceedings in the US, where he is being sued by film publicist Haleigh Breest, who alleges Haggis raped her in January 2013.

Breest originally filed suit in December 2017, although the proceedings were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A trial date has now been set for October 11 in Manhattan.

Haggis says the meeting with Breest, which reportedly took place after a premiere, was by mutual consent.

If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual assault, domestic violence, or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit their website. In an emergency, call 000.

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