There’s no doubt that someone in the California Justice Dept is hoping to make some headlines by dredging up the Roman Polanski case. But that hardly makes Polanski, as Andrew O’Hagan wrote on this blog, 'a silly old bugger who slept with a teenage model 32 years ago'. As we’ve all been reminded lately, Polanski was a 44-year-old man who drugged and repeatedly raped a 13-year-old girl who was pleading to go home. Then he called her parents and told them she’d be late.

One expects Hollywood to protect its own, but it is repulsive to see writers such as Paul Auster, Salman Rushdie and Milan Kundera signing on to Bernard-Henri Lévy's petition deploring that this 'ingenious filmmaker' has been 'apprehended like a common terrorist'. (Not even an extraordinary terrorist!) They apparently never got past their adolescent reading of Nietzsche. Or, as one wit somewhere on the internet put it, 'Jeffrey Dahmer would’ve been OK if he had directed Citizen Kane.'