An Italian investigating judge has ruled that Canadian film director Paul Haggis should remain under house arrest amid ongoing investigations into allegations of sexual assault against him.
Haggis 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 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 on Wednesday morning, Laforgia said Haggis had been 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 the 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 had been 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.