The rape charge against Paul Haggis

The Preliminary Investigative Judge of the Court of Brindisi, Velma Gilly, has decided to extend the house arrest of Director Paul Haggis, accused by an English woman of sexual violence. According to the investigating judge, there is, in fact, a risk of contaminating the evidence and repeating the crime. On the other hand, the validity of the arrest was not proven, after questioning the guarantee, for the risk of escape.

Haggis, 69, Canadian but also American, 2006 Academy Award winner with Collide (Best Film and Best Original Screenplay) He was arrested by order of the Brindisi Public Prosecutor on June 19 after a 29-year-old English woman accused him of sexual assault. The director was in Puglia to shoot a promotional spot for the candidacy of the municipality of Missani as the Italian capital of culture, and he should have been one of the protagonists of the Allora Festival, a festival that takes place in Ostuni from June 22-26.

fact that In 2017, in the United States, press secretary Haley Priest claimed that she was raped by Haggis after previewing the film in 2013. Since 2018, four more women have reported being harassed and sexually assaulted by the director. Haggis has long denied the allegations, arguing that the relationships were consensual. He also tried to sue Haley Priest in turn (the proposal was rejected) for defamation, claiming that he would try to extort $9 million from him.

In the six pages that the investigating judge in Brindisi pushed, the decision to house arrest is attributed to the director, as reported Corriere della Seraa “Absolute inability to control one’s instincts and to desist from one’s intentions in a position of evasion and control.” The investigating judge made his decision that led him to risk that the woman “through her contacts with Haggis or with third parties might be induced to retreat.”

What is known so far about this case is that the director and the woman who accuses him of rape met at the end of April at the Munich Film Festival. On this versions coincide. English women use a pseudonym, which is a French name, both in life and on social networks. It’s also the same name, but there is no confirmation that Haggis knows him by it.

Haggis claimed, during the security investigation, that he invited the woman to join him in Ostuni for the festival, which took place on 12 June. The director spoke of a three-day cohabitation and two sexual relations. According to the story that the woman gave to Deputy Attorney General Antonio Negro and Deputy Attorney General Livia Orlando, she arrived in Haggis in Puglia, proposing herself for the role of chancellor. Haggis would meet her at Brindisi airport and take her to the farm where she was staying.

At that time, according to the woman’s account, the first violence occurred. From the summaries of the testimonies published in the newspapers, it was found that the woman decided not to file a complaint because the manager would get it. Confident of his intentions to establish an “emotional relationship” with her. In front of the judges, the woman also said that she was infatuated with the director and was therefore afraid of him.

Later, the woman says, there will be two more sexual assaults. According to her testimony, a strong quarrel could have occurred, after which the director would have taken her, at dawn and in a very rude manner, to Brindisi airport using a rented car. At that point, the woman was “in a state of confusion,” as written in the police report, she might turn to a flight attendant and then to the police, to formalize the complaint. The investigators conducted the first examinations, and the woman underwent medical examinations, which, according to some newspaper reports, confirmed the presence of injuries. Only at that point did the prosecutor request an arrest Haggis, who denies the allegations.

According to the director’s lawyer, Michel LaForgia, Paul Haggis explained how it went. He pleaded his innocence just as he did in immediate arrest. His relationship with this woman was completely consensual during these three days they spent together in Ostuni.” “We have also made it clear, contrary to what is assumed in the charges, that there are no injuries and no trace of violence,” the lawyer said after questioning Daman before the investigating judge, defying the doctor’s report’s interpretation.

The public prosecutor demanded the occurrence of an evidentiary incident with a direct confrontation between the accused and the accused. An incident of proof is a type of anticipation of the process that serves to form and obtain particularly relevant evidence without having to wait for trial, and is used in particular when there is a fear that a witness may be induced to retract or alter the transcript. , when the evaluation of things and persons is subject to “inevitable changes” or even when “urgent reasons do not permit waiting until trial”.

Immediately after Haggis’ arrest, many organizers requested that the Ostuni Festival be cancelled. Organizers confirmed all appointments, declaring, however, that they “have I immediately proceeded to cancel any participation by director Paul Haggis from the event.”

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