Roman Polanski may have to return to the US for the first time since he fled the country in 1978 after a California appeals court rejected a bid to have sex charges against him dropped.

The Polish-born director’s lawyers had argued that the US courts dismiss the case of unlawful sex with a minor, Samantha Geimer, after citing irregularities in the behaviour of the prosecutor and judge in the original hearing in 1977.

However while the California 2nd District Court Of Appeal referred to concerns about alleged misconduct in the way the original case was handled and suggested the case should be over, it denied the petition to dismiss the charges and said a lower court should investigate the case more thoroughly.

It is understood that Swiss authorities will decide early next year on whether or not to extradite Polanski to the US. Legal experts in the US said he would most likely face a very brief time in jail before the case was ultimately dismissed.

Polanski remains under house arrest at his chalet in Gstaad and is preparing The Ghost Writer before the mystery’s world premiere in Berlin in February.