According to the Deputy Minister of Justice, in the Szczecin basilica, the priest was to be beaten for “did not want to grant gay marriage to the bandits”. Neither the attacked person, nor the prosecutor’s indictment, nor the final judgment of the court confirm this.
Marcin Warchoł, Deputy Minister of Justice from Solidarna Polska, appearing in the “Polish Point of View” program in TV I last On January 4, he spoke, among other things, about the need to oppose the “promotion of LGBT ideology.” “Promotion of an ideology that is an ideology that sows hatred, reaches for oppression, excludes those who think differently, breaks consciences, leads to de facto tyranny” – he perorated. According to Warchoł, “LGBT ideology” has already taken over Western countries. He gave a number of examples, including two from Poland. “We had calls for the murder of Bishop Marek Jędraszewski. In the basilica in Szczecin, a priest was beaten because he did not want to grant gay marriage to bandits. We already have these situations. Their goal is to plow through society so that sin cannot be called a sin,” he argued.
We checked the story from Szczecin. It was a high-profile case in which a court hearing took place and a final judgment has already been issued. It does not confirm what the Deputy Minister of Justice said.
2019, attack on a Szczecin priest
On Sunday, July 28, 2019, before 6 p.m., to the sacristy of the Basilica of St. John the Baptist in Szczecin was invaded by three drunk men. As reported by the portal Tvn24.plinside, they came across a sacristan, from whom they were to demand chasubles, because “now they will celebrate mass”. They stated that they had the consent of the parish priest – which they did not have. The woman refused and called the parish priest, Aleksander Zieewski, for help. When he arrived and tried to throw the men out, a brawl ensued. One of the men allegedly attacked the priest and then the churchman, who defended the parish priest. As the victims testified, the man mauled them both, cut the clergyman’s cheek with a rosary wrapped around his hand. Blood drenched his shirt. Then the men ran away.
After the incident, the TVN24.pl portal talked to Father Ziejewski. His cheek had to be stitched up. Andrzej Melerski, the injured churchman, said that one of the men hit him once. “I pulled him away from the priest and he hit me in the face. I fell like a jackdaw. He behaved like the devil,” he told the portal. Soon the police detained all three men – as it turned out, due to their criminal past, they were already known to the law enforcement authorities.
Pro-government media report an attempted homosexual wedding
The event was widely covered by the national media. Some pro-government publications exposed the topic of an alleged homosexual wedding – although it was not entirely clear whether the men wanted to give it themselves or demanded it from a clergyman, as Deputy Minister Warchoł now claims. A beam appeared on TVP Info with the message: “Attack on the priest. The perpetrators wanted a homosexual wedding”, and portal Republika TV reported that one of the attackers, the most aggressive, “demanded liturgical vestments and said he wanted to marry his friends.” The same was reported on the title page of the journal “Gazeta Polska Daily”. “The perpetrators – bandits known to the police – demanded that they be given liturgical vestments. One of them was looking for wedding rings. They wanted to have a homosexual ‘wedding’ in the sacristy,” the portal wrote in turn. Fronda.pl.
Even Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki took the floor. “There can be no consent to acts of aggression. Yesterday’s beating of a priest and the attempt to profane the Holy Mass in Szczecin deserve special condemnation from all sides – regardless of political views. I thank the Polish police for their efficient action and the capture of the attackers” – the head of government wrote on Twitter. Then Prosecutor General Zbigniew Ziobro, head of Solidarna Polska, decided to supervise the case by the National Prosecutor’s Office.
A gay wedding? The attacked priest denies it, and so does the court
When the attack in the Szczecin church and the alleged homosexual wedding became loud, the journalists of the portal Fakt24.pl they simply asked the attacked priest about it in early August 2019. “Did the men want to steal the robes because they were going to have a wedding with two men?” Father Aleksander Ziejewski replied: “I can’t confirm it, I haven’t heard anything like that.”
According to Konkret24 Janusz Jaromin, spokesman for the Court of Appeal in Szczecin, the issue of the alleged homosexual wedding did not even appear in the indictment prepared by the prosecutor’s office. – It was also not considered at all by the court – he added in an interview with us.
Prosecutor’s office: crime on religious grounds
In the indictment, the investigator which they handed over to the court two months after the incident, exposed the alleged religious motive of the perpetrators. The main charge was robbery – according to the prosecutor’s office, committed “because of the religious affiliation of the victims”, i.e. the parish priest and two other people. The object that the perpetrators allegedly wanted to steal was a rosary. They were also charged with violation of bodily integrity, fraud and domestic disturbance. The accused faced up to 10 years in prison.
The court changes the qualification of the acts. It excludes a religious theme
In May 2020 the judgment in this case was issued by the District Court in Szczecin. And at the beginning of 2021, after an appeal filed by the prosecutor’s office and the auxiliary prosecutor, The judgment was upheld in its entirety by the Court of Appeal. Two of the three defendants were found guilty of trespass and causing an unfavorable disposal of property. One of the men was also convicted of threatening the life of the victims and of violating the bodily integrity of the sacristan (by pushing her away), and hit the parish priest and the church priest several times with his hand in the face, “which resulted in bodily injuries in their face for a period not exceeding 7 days “.
As Michał Tomala, a spokesman for the District Court in Szczecin, told us, although the investigators originally charged the men with, inter alia, Art. 119 pairs 1 of the Penal Code (content below), recognizing that there was an attack on people due to their religious affiliation, the court changed the description of this act. – The court found that the perpetrators were not guided by the fact that the victims belonged to the Catholic Church. Their actions were hooligan in nature – Michał Tomala explains in an interview with Konkret24. As Janusz Jaromin, spokesman for the Court of Appeal in Szczecin, informed us, the prosecutor’s office filed an appeal in this regard, polemicizing with the position of the court.
Who uses violence or an unlawful threat against a group of people or a particular person because of their national, ethnic, racial, political, religious affiliation or because of their non-denominationalism, shall be subject to the penalty of deprivation of liberty for a term of between 3 months and 5 years.
– It was a primitive robbery under the influence of alcohol – summed up in an interview with Konkret24 the spokesman of the Szczecin Court of Appeal.
Judge on the prosecutor’s version: “exaggerated”, “highly exaggerated”
Adam Zadworny, journalist of the portal Wyborcza.pl, who followed the course of the trial on an ongoing basis and attended the announcement of the verdict in the Court of Appeal, noted down the words of Małgorzata Jankowska, judge of the Court of Appeal, justifying the verdict: “The legal assessment of this event was exaggerated by the prosecutor’s office”; “the court of first instance assessed this event rationally”; “The vision presented by the prosecution is highly exaggerated.”
“It was enough to know the dialogue from the first trial in this trial to know that the prosecutor’s structure about the attack on religion will fall apart,” wrote Zadworny. He quoted the reply of a priest, when asked by the judge, if he had heard the main accused utter any words about hatred of the Church or about the Church in general. “No, I haven’t heard anything like that,” replied Fr. Aleksander Zieewski.
The journalist wrote that the defendants declared themselves Catholics, and one of them said in an interview with “Wyborcza” after leaving prison: “The policemen said they would let me go home in the morning and keep the young man because he was fighting with the priest. But in the morning everything changed. One of the policemen laughed and said: ‘Since Ziobro himself is interested in you, there will certainly be a request for arrest'”.
To sum up: there is no confirmation of what Deputy Minister Warchoł said – that in Szczecin “a priest was beaten because he did not want to give gay marriage to bandits”. This was not confirmed by the attacked priest himself. In addition, the words of the deputy minister of justice do not correspond to what was in the prosecutor’s indictment. And the court did not even deal with the issue of the alleged homosexual marriage.
Main photo source: Adam Chelstowski/Forum