“It was a confrontation between a safe car and a coffin on wheels” – for these words, spoken publicly right after the fatal accident involving himself, the lawyer from Łódź was illegally suspended in his professional activities for 16 months by the disciplinary court of the District Bar Council in Łódź. This is yet another punishment for a lawyer who will soon face trial for causing an incident that left two people dead.
Paweł K. (after the start of the trial before the disciplinary court, he did not agree to the publication of his name and image, after the verdict was announced, we were unable to contact him) On September 26, 2022, he was driving a Mercedes collided head-on with an Audi coming in the opposite direction. Two women, aged 53 and 67, were driving the Audi, both died. The lawyer, who was sober at the time of the accident, escaped without major injuries. He was traveling with his wife and son. The day after the tragedy, a lawyer recorded a comment that was posted on social media. The passage in which he stated that it was “a confrontation between a safe car and a coffin on wheels” caused public outrage.
“Everyone talks about excessive speed, bravado, mobile phones, drunk drivers. But we forget, dear friends, that there are coffins on wheels on our roads. It was a confrontation between a safe car and a coffin on wheels. in other words, that’s why these women died,” he said in the video.
– This comment exceeded the principles of moderation, commensurability and prudence in statements. In this way, the defendant violated the principles of the dignity of the profession of a lawyer, undermining trust in him – stressed the deputy disciplinary prosecutor at the District Bar Council in Łódź, Mariusz Wolski, at the first hearing.
The lawyer was also blamed for the fact that in 2021 the lawyer posted a photo taken behind the wheel of a car that clearly exceeded the speed limit.
– The photo was taken inside the car belonging to the accused. It indicates a violation of the generally applicable road traffic law by significantly exceeding the speed limit by car, which also constitutes a violation of the dignity of the advocate’s profession and undermines trust in him – argued the deputy disciplinary prosecutor.
Paweł K. has been suspended from his professional activities without a valid decision for 16 months, and during this period he will not be able to be a patron for advocate trainees. For publishing a photo that suggests speeding, he is to pay PLN 8,400.
– The sentence is not final and the convict may appeal against it to the disciplinary court at the Supreme Bar Council – Anna Mrożewska, spokesperson for the District Bar Council in Łódź, reports.
The attorney did not agree
During the first hearing, the accused lawyer did not admit to the allegations before the disciplinary court. He offered no explanations, but answered questions from his lawyer.
The entire recording was played in court, parts of which sparked public outrage. The lawyer told him that he had had a tragic accident the day before and did not remember how it happened. He reported that when he ran to the second car, there were two dead women inside and that “there was no one to save.” In the recording, he also indicated that the circumstances of the accident will be investigated by the prosecutor’s office.
“There are two possibilities: either I pulled into the opposite lane and hit the Audi, or the Audi veered off and hit me. Nothing else could have happened,” the lawyer said in the recording.
Then he appealed to the recipients to drive carefully and observe “also other road users and think for them”. He also pointed out that “everyone can have a bad day and a tragedy can happen.” He emphasized that traffic accidents they do not happen premeditated, but it is a “resultant of mistakes”. Only then did the lawyer from Łódź move on to the issue of the cars involved in the accident.
He emphasized that the dead were traveling in an “almost 30-year-old Audi”, which – as he claimed – had certainly been repaired many times and had a “long history”. He noted that in Poland – similarly to excessive speed – the phenomenon of introducing dangerous vehicles into traffic should be combated. Then there are words about “coffins on wheels”, which are well known to the public and which brought the lawyer to the disciplinary court.
Attorney Paweł K.: the sense of this passage has been completely distorted
Attorney Pawel K. he was explaining before the disciplinary officer on November 9 last year. He then decided that his words about “caskets on wheels” were “unfortunate”. However, he noted that he was in shock after the accident, and that his wife and child were still in the hospital.
“The meaning of this passage has been completely distorted. I didn’t mean that these ladies died, because I was driving a new car and they were in an old one, and that’s why they died. I meant that regardless of who caused this tragedy, the consequences would be different if the participants were moving in a safe vehicle” – read out the explanations of attorney K., the chairwoman of the disciplinary court.
The lawyer explained that he understood the outrage, but stressed that he did not want to provoke such a reaction.
Paweł K. also explained to the disciplinary spokesman that he had taken a photo showing very fast driving. He said that “as far as he remembers” he was not behind the wheel, but “another person”.
More career troubles
Attorney K. had already appeared before the disciplinary court of the District Bar Council in Łódź. The case was related to another statement by a lawyer on social media. Last year, attorney K. announced in his online statement that his client had been “brazenly deceived” by the prosecutor’s office and police officers. Allegedly, they were supposed to convince the would-be client of attorney K. that he needed another lawyer for formal reasons (because the lawyer represented another suspect in this case).
Upset K. expressed his indignation online. He emphasized that the police gave the inmate “complete nonsense, drugs completely sucked out of – sorry, there’s no other way to call it – a dirty, smelly toe that I don’t know where it was before it was sucked out of it.” The lawyer also assessed that it was a “typical garbage collection action of the prosecutor and the police”. He also informed that “he already has a plan that is already being implemented”, which will surprise the prosecutor. The lawyer announced that “his will be on top, because he does not let go of such cases”.
These words – as the disciplinary court found – were “unworthy of a lawyer”, therefore it found him guilty of professional disregard and suspended attorney K.’s right to practice his profession for four months and deprived him of the right of attorney’s patronage for three years. The attorney is also to cover the costs of the disciplinary prosecutor and the court – a total of PLN 2,000.
– The lawyer used vulgar words. Every citizen knows that the statement “karma is a female dog” is a vulgar statement. Other statements are also not statements that should be made by a lawyer – the disciplinary court noted at that time.
He stressed that attorney K. had violated the rules of ethics that require moderation and tact. He emphasized that the lawyer’s statements were related to his profession, and therefore they were subject to assessment by the disciplinary court. He pointed out that in this case it did not matter whether Attorney K. was right in his statement or not. However, the fact is – for the disciplinary court – that it used an unacceptable form.
The decision of the end of April is also not invalid.
Accused after the accident. The trial is scheduled to start in 2023
In September, the Olsztyn prosecutor’s office sent to court indictment against Paweł K. He is accused of causing an accident in which two people died.
Prosecutors accused Paweł K. of the fact that on September 26, 2021, on the Barczewo-Jeziorany route, driving a Mercedes vehicle, he intentionally violated the safety rules in land traffic by crossing a double continuous line marking the axis of the road, entering the lane intended for traffic vehicles in the opposite direction.
– As a result, he unintentionally caused a road accident, colliding with a properly driving Audi 80 vehicle, as a result of which the driver and passenger of the Audi died at the scene – said Daniel Brodowski from the District Prosecutor’s Office in Olsztyn.
The prosecutor’s office said that Paweł K. – interrogated as a suspect – did not admit to committing the alleged act and refused to give explanations. The prosecutor applied a preventive measure against him in the form of a property surety in the amount of PLN 50,000. PLN and an order to refrain from driving a motor vehicle. The alleged act is punishable by imprisonment from 6 months to 8 years.
The trial in the case is due to start next year.
Main photo source: Police in Olsztyn