UPDATE, 2 PM: A judge in Italy on Monday ordered film director Paul Haggis released from house arrest while prosecutors decide whether to pursue their investigation into allegations of sexual assault against him, The Associated Press reports.
Haggis had remained under police detention in a hotel in southern Italy since June 19 following allegations by an unnamed British woman that he had non-consensual sex with her over two days while he was in Italy to participate in an arts festival in the tourist town of Ostuni.
Haggis has maintained his innocence, according to his lawyer.
PREVIOUS, June 22: An Italian investigating judge Wednesday ruled that director Paul Haggis will remain under house arrest amid ongoing investigations into allegations of sexual assault against him.
Haggis, the Canadian film director whose Crash won the Best Picture Oscar in 2006, has been under police detention in a hotel in the town of Ostuni just outside the Southern Italian port city of Brindisi since Sunday following allegations by an unnamed British woman that he subjected her to non-consensual sex over the course of a number of days.
Local investigating judge Vilma Gilli made the decision to extend his house arrest today after a three-hour preliminary hearing with Haggis and his Italian lawyer Michele Laforgia in Brindisi on Wednesday morning. She ruled out prison detention for the director, saying there was little danger of him trying to escape.
Talking to journalists after the hearing this morning, Laforgia said Haggis had declared his “complete innocence” and reiterated that any relations with the woman had been consensual.
He added that the director had been fully cooperative with Italian authorities and had no intention of leaving the country until his name was cleared.
The next step in the process will be a special evidence pre-trial hearing outside the court, the date of which has yet to be set.
Haggis was in southern Italy to attend the Allora film festival in Ostuni, where he was due to give a masterclass.
According to local media reports, he first met his accuser at a film festival in Monte Carlo in April and has been in regular contact with her since then, which resulted in the invitation to join him on the Italian trip.