Allegations against Oscar winners: Paul Haggis remains under house arrest in Italy

Allegations against Oscar winners
Paul Haggis remains under house arrest in Italy

Paul Haggis is actually at a film festival in Italy – he’s been invited as a guest star. But then a British woman accused him of sexual assault. The director is now under house arrest. The judge fears he may be trying to influence the alleged victim.

Oscar winner Paul Haggis remains under house arrest in Italy. A woman has accused the director of sexually assaulting her for three days in the Puglia region in the south of the Mediterranean country over the past week. After an initial questioning of the 69-year-old Canadian, an investigating magistrate in the city of Brindisi decided to keep him under house arrest in a hotel. According to the news agencies Ansa and Adnkronos, the reason given was that Haggis could otherwise influence the alleged victim before he testified. However, there is no risk of escape.

The accused vehemently denies the prosecutor’s allegations. “As expected, Paul Haggis answered all questions, presented the facts and once again declared himself absolutely innocent,” defense attorney Michele Laforgia told journalists after the hearing. “What he did with this woman in the three days together in Ostuni was completely consensual.” The Canadian’s lawyer also questioned the prosecutors’ claims that the alleged victim was injured when the police were called.

The British woman was taken to Brindisi airport by Haggis on Wednesday, where prosecutors said she was found in an “apparently confused state”. The police took her to a hospital to assess injuries; the 30-year-old then filed a complaint. Haggis was arrested after initial investigations on Sunday and then placed under house arrest. The filmmaker has explicitly announced that he will remain in Italy until his innocence is proven, said lawyer Laforgia. “Because his life depends on it, here and also in the USA.”

The Canadian was actually intended as a star guest at the Ostuni film festival. According to Ansa, after he was arrested on Sunday, those responsible said that haggis was immediately banned from all events. Paul Haggis became the first writer to win an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in two consecutive years – for “Million Dollar Baby” and for “LA Crash”. Later, Haggis also co-wrote the screenplays for the James Bond films “Casino Royale” (2006) and “Quantum of Solace” (2008).

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