Paul Haggis Sexual Assault Case Dismissed by Italian Court

Paul Haggis Sexual Assault Case Dismissed by Italian Court

A judge in the southern Italian city of Lecce has ruled that Oscar-winning Canadian director Paul Haggis has no basis for pursuing an investigation into allegations that he had sex with a young woman without her consent.

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

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“After seeing the evidence and hearing arguments from both sides, the district court of Lacey, an appellate court with three judges, unanimously dismissed a prosecutor’s appeal, reinstating Haggis’s arrest. Italian lawyer Michele LaForgia issued a statement. on Saturday.

Haggis, who won two Oscars for “Crash” and is also known for writing “Million Dollar Baby”, was arrested on June 19 in Ostuni, a location in the southern region of Puglia, on the heels of the Italian boot. Yes, on sexual charges. A 28-year-old British woman was allegedly attacked over 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, Brindisi Court Judge Wilma Gilli interrogated the alleged victim and then immediately overturned Haggis’s detention,” LaForgia said in the statement.

Brindisi’s prosecutor appealed his decision in Lacey’s Court, where Haggis’s attorney presented what he called “incontrovertible and objective evidence that the woman told many lies to the investigators and the court, the facts and witnesses fully Her story was denied,” the lawyer added.

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

LaForgia said Haggis’ arrest was the result of a judicial error and based on the evidence prosecutors should now close the case. This is expected to happen in the coming weeks, until new evidence emerges.

On Friday evening, the Court of Lecce contacted lawyers for both sides to inform them of the court’s decision, dismissing the appeal of the public prosecutor and confirming the decision made by Judge Gilly. Now four judges have ruled in favor of Haggis.

“In the coming weeks, the reasons for the decision will be known and, therefore, so will the fate of the pending judicial proceedings in Italy,” LaForgia said in the statement.

Haggis is also facing court proceedings in the US, where he is being tried by film publicist Haley Brest, who alleged that Haggis raped her in January 2013. Brest originally filed the lawsuit in December 2017, although proceedings were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A trial date has now been set for October 11 in Manhattan. Haggis says the encounter with Brest, which reportedly took place after a premiere, was consensual.

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