Judge Arkadiusz Cichocki in an interview with the reporter “Black on White”, Marta Gordziewicz, spoke about the hate scandal of 2019 against the judges. “There are things I keep reproaching myself today,” he admitted. He apologized to a group of people, including the president of the court, whom he had replaced in the position. “It turned out that a good president has been replaced with a worse one,” he said.
Arkadiusz Cichocki is a judge of the District Court in Gliwice and the former president of this court by appointment of Zbigniew Ziobro, the Minister of Justice and the Prosecutor General.
The judge was among the supporters of the government reform in the courts, who – according to Onet – were supposed to inspire and organize hatred of judges critical of these changes through the “Kasta” group. They were also to collect and disseminate information intended to discredit judges who defend the independence of the judiciary.
Judge Cichocki: my grades may change a lot after that time
When asked where his name was found among the group that was to organize hate against judges criticizing the reform of the judiciary, he said: – I have never slandered any judge, I have never done something called hate. Because hate is the public utterance of words that are harmful, hurtful, and aimed at destroying someone.
– Violating judges is not something I have ever been involved in or have ever been interested in. Did I participate in the “Kasta” group? I know there is a group topic in messaging on WhatsApp. The problem is, WhatsApp was my daily work tool back then – he mentioned. He added that he did not remember the names of all the groups in which he was active.
In the “Kasta” group, linked by the WhatsApp communicator, the following judges – apart from Cichocki – were to include: Konrad Wytrykowski, Przemysław Radzik, Maciej Mitera, Michał Lasota, Jakub Iwaniec, Jarosław Dudzicz and Łukasz Piebiak.
READ THE 2019 SUMMARY: Hejt to judges. What do we know about the case?
When asked if during everyday conversations he took part in deliberating on how to slander judges opposed to new reforms in the judiciary, he replied: – I did not participate in programming, preparing or encouraging anyone to slander.
– I can confirm that in private conversations there have been situations when I expressed myself critically or very critically, without using profanity, about people who thought to me that they thought wrong. My grades may change a lot after that time – he said. – I was disliked by these statements when I myself felt slandered, when someone spoke badly about me or badly about the group of people I belong to – he explained.
“I wish I had said such words in a private conversation”
After that time, Cichocki judged that “bad emotions should be expressed”, but “in the circle of people you trust”. – You definitely should not say it hastily and in circles of people who do not guarantee that it will not come out – he describes.
In an interview, he said that one of his statements did not remain private. – I have apologized for her publicly, but there is always an opportunity to come back to it – she adds. It is about a statement in which Cichocki compared the then first president of the Supreme Court, Małgorzata Gersdorf, to his dachshund. “It was a rude joke, completely meaningless,” he said.
– It was never my intention to insult the professor. And it’s not because you can’t do that. Because it is not illegal in a private conversation. These were not words addressed to the professor, but I apologize once again to the professor for not being able to respect her authority, which she always had, even in a private conversation – he said. – I regret that in a private conversation I said such words – he emphasized.
Dismissal by fax of the governors. “Sorry to take over the function taken away from you judge”
Cichocki admitted that “there are things he reproaches himself to this day”. – Which I regret and for which I apologized or tried to apologize or I can do now. I owe an apology to a certain person. I’ve never actually done this in public, ‘he said.
– Most of the time my president in the District Court (in Gliwice) was Judge Henryk Brzyżkiewicz. He was dismissed by fax. He has never done anything that I might feel sorry for, that I might judge negatively about. I had respect and sympathy for him. The law allowing chairmen to be dismissed without any reason was binding law, it allowed, it was legal. Was it okay? I think that even then I felt that it was not right. It could have been otherwise. Maybe it was even appropriate then, before the faxes started working, to go to the judge and tell him about it. I owed him that. Sorry to take over the function taken away from you judge, he said.
He also mentioned that he must apologize to a group of people, judges of the Gliwice district. – You cannot manage judges by imposing your will and force on them. You can’t inspire trust and support, he said.
Why did he decide to assume the position of president? – I have asked myself this question many times. There are certain considerations of a personal nature, the blind and stupid belief that I will do better. Perhaps there was an idealistic belief that it was worth it. Only nothing at the cost of harming another human being – he replied.
Cichocki also said that he had collected information about judge Monika Frąckowiak from “Iustitia”, who opposes the politicization of the courts and who is now being subject to disciplinary proceedings. However, he did not want to disclose to whom he provided this information and who was the client. The judge said that he had never met Frąckowiak, and tried to apologize to her in a “roundabout” way. He added that he did not know whether these apologies had reached the judge.
– I remember going through everything that could be found about the judge. I checked on judge Frąckowiak for one simple reason: I read her interview in which I felt personally offended. I was not named there. The judge used the phrase that “respected CEOs are recalled by fax at night, and in this place CEOs of dubious reputation are appointed”. I was offended by the words with “dubious reputation” because I was the president of the fax machine myself, he explained. “But then, from the perspective of all these events, accepting the fax nomination could evoke negative emotions,” he added.
Cichocki summed up that he had collected information about Judge Frąckowiak, but could not say where he had provided it. – There is a certain amount of information here, which I cannot disclose to the public, and partly I do not want to. This is due to legal reasons, he said.
Was he collecting information on his own initiative? – If I remember correctly, I was asked if I know anything about this lady, “do we have something for this …”, an incorrect wording was used here and I then checked or already used the information that I checked earlier, where the lady works what results from her declaration of financial interests, what is the opinion about her resulting from possible promotion attempts and so on – he mentioned. – The policemen call it “white intelligence” – he assessed.
– With regard to me, I accept these words. What she said then was her right. She had the right to criticize it. Paradoxically, it turned out that she was right. In my case, she was right, it turned out that a good president had been changed for a worse one, he concluded.
“I collected information myself and was asked about it”
The interview quoted an alleged exchange of views from July 2018 between Cichocki and the hatter Emi, who was to cooperate with judges associated in the “Kasta” group.
“You can ask if we have anything for this bitch” – Emi was supposed to write. “Are we hitting her?” – was to ask Cichocki. The judge would answer her, “Always with you.”
– As for this person, I will say that I have nothing to say. It has some grounds, so I would like to omit the name when it comes to such a dialogue – Cichocki replied to Marcie Gordziewicz, referring to Emi. – I do not have a record of such a conversation, I am not able to comment on the authenticity of words – he argued. – When it comes to collecting information about judge Frąckowiak, in fact such a situation took place. I collected information myself and was asked about it – he said.
To the reminder that judge Frąckowiak later heard a number of disciplinary charges, Cichocki replied: – If I have applied my hand to anything legally, because it is legal to collect information on someone else’s subject, I am sorry for that and I apologize for that.
“Did we talk to each other after the scandal broke out?”
Cichocki did not want to answer further questions about Emi. “I have nothing to say about this lady,” he shortened.
The judge maintained that he “never paid anyone for hate”. “I’ve never paid anyone for anything that would be illegal,” he said. – I did not pay anyone to do something for me. If I paid someone to buy something for myself, it was only in the private sphere – he added.
When asked about the disclosed screenshots of transfers to be made by him, he wondered. “This is a secret of the investigation,” he replied after a moment.
Does he have contact with judges whose names have been mentioned in the hate scandal? Gordziewicz mentioned judges Jakub Iwaniec, Konrad Wytrykowski, Łukasz Piebiak, Maciej Nawacki and Jarosław Dudzicz.
– I cannot talk about everything, because we are connected to some extent by certain procedural events – he replied. – Did we talk to each other after the scandal broke out? I try to remember who talked to me, but few people talked to me about anything. From the group you mentioned, maybe two, maybe three – he mentioned. He also said that he was not looking for contact with these people.
In an interview, Cichocki assured that he did not know anything about such a creature as “a troll farm in the Ministry of Justice”. He was asked at this point whether the press information about the campaign to defame judges was true. – I didn’t do that. It is difficult for me to speak about other people, I do not know enough about it – he replied.
Cichocki’s interview for “Black on the White” contradicts the current position of the judges to whom the Onet portal attributed their participation in the scandal. These judges either denied taking part in the scandal, stated that it was not there at all, or remained silent.
Main photo source: TVN24