Paul Haggis Sexual Assault Case Dropped by Italian Court

Paul Haggis Sexual Assault Case Dropped by Italian Court

A judge in the southern Italian city of Lecce has ruled there is no reason to continue investigating claims that the Oscar-winning Canadian director Paul Hagis had sex with a young woman without her consent.

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

“After reviewing the evidence and hearing arguments from both parties, the Lecce District Court, a three-judge appeals court, unanimously rejected the prosecutor’s appeal to reinstate house arrest. of Haggis,” Haggis’ Italian lawyer Michele Laforgia said in a statement. 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 at the heel of Italy’s boot, on charges of sexual assault allegedly brought against a 28-year-old Briton over two days in June.

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

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

The Brindisi prosecutor appealed his decision to the Lecce court, where Haggis’ lawyer presented what he described as “irrefutable and objective evidence that the woman told multiple lies to investigators and the court, with facts and witnesses completely contradicting his story”. added the lawyer.

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

Laforgia said Haggis’ arrest was the result of a miscarriage of justice and, based on the evidence, prosecutors must now dismiss the case. This should happen in the coming weeks unless new evidence surfaces.

On Friday evening, the Lecce court contacted the lawyers of both parties to inform them of the court’s decision, rejecting the prosecutor’s appeal and confirming the decision taken by Judge Gilli. Four judges have now ruled in favor of Haggis.

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

Haggis is also facing legal action in the United States where he is being sued by movie publicist Haleigh Breest, who alleges Haggis raped her in January 2013. Breest originally filed the lawsuit in December 2017, although the proceedings has been delayed 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 would have taken place after a premiere, was consensual.

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