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'Send Polanski back to US now'

Prosecutors in Los Angeles angrily denied claims by Roman Polanski's lawyers that they tried to conceal evidence in his 32-year-old sex case and renewed demands for him to be returned to the US for sentencing.

Two prosecutors argued in a 26-page brief filed yesterday that allowing the 76-year-old film director, right, to avoid extradition from Switzerland damaged the integrity of the judicial system more than revelations of alleged misconduct by a now-dead judge. They also claim there has been a misinterpretation of an extradition treaty with Switzerland and that Polanski should be returned for a court hearing in Los Angeles.

Polanski, arrested on a US warrant, spent more than 60 days in a Swiss jail before being transferred to house arrest on December 4.

The late Superior Court Judge Laurence Rittenband sentenced the director in 1978 to a diagnostic study at a California prison where he served 42 days.

Although the judge told lawyers that would be Polanski's full sentence, he later indicated he was going to renege on the bargain and give him a harsher sentence at a scheduled hearing.

Polanski then fled to France and has been a fugitive ever since. His lawyers say the judge's promise is binding and Polanski has served his full sentence.