The Supreme Court decided on Tuesday to start an ex officio cassation procedure to pardon Mariusz Kamiński and Maciej Wąsik, convicted in connection with their actions regarding the so-called land scandal, “Gazeta Wyborcza” reported. She added that the Supreme Court had been waiting for six years to deal with the case due to the alleged dispute over powers, which was being dealt with by the Constitutional Tribunal.
Tuesday’s decision of the Supreme Court is related to the action of the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau regarding the so-called land scandal of 2007, i.e. the corruption scandal that ended the rule of the PiS-Samoobrona-LPR coalition.
Kamiński and Wąsik pardoned before the final verdict
In 2015, the District Court in Warsaw assessed that Mariusz Kaminski (currently Minister of the Interior and Administration, coordinator of secret services) as the head of the CBA, he exceeded his powers when conducting activities in the so-called land scandal in 2007. He was convicted along with it Maciej Wasik (currently deputy head of the Ministry of Interior and Administration), who in 2007 was Kamiński’s deputy. The court sentenced them to three years in prison and disqualification from holding office.
However, before the verdict became final, the president Andrzej Duda in 2015, he pardoned Kamiński and Wąsik.
Cassation case in the Supreme Court
The appeals were heard by the District Court in Warsaw after the pardon. The latter – as “Gazeta Wyborcza” reminds us – based on the presidential decision, discontinued the case. The auxiliary prosecutors – the family of Andrzej Lepper and the accused Piotr Ryba – appealed to the Supreme Court.
“The cassation was to be considered by the trio. But the issue of pardon before the final conviction aroused controversy, so the trio asked questions to the ‘seven’ of the Supreme Court. In response, the latter crushed the presidential pardon. He clearly said: the act of clemency regarding Kamiński and Wąsik was issued in violation of the provisions of the constitution because only a legally convicted person can be pardoned. Duda’s pardon does not have any procedural effects. It is legally ineffective “- wrote “GW”.
Before the trio issued its decision, the then Marshal of the Sejm, Marek Kuchciński, initiated the case of a dispute over powers between the Supreme Court and the president before the Constitutional Tribunal chaired by Julia Przyłębska. In connection with the proceedings before the Constitutional Tribunal – which many experts, lawyers, judges and constitutionalists accuse of politicization – Supreme Court had to suspend its cassation proceedings in 2017.
According to the newspaper, the Supreme Court turned to the Tribunal and asked about the date of dealing with the dispute, but the letters received showed that the case had not yet been settled. “This is proof of the instrumental treatment of legal procedures and the Constitutional Tribunal, which was used only so that the cassation appeal in the Supreme Court would not be considered and that the case would not be returned to court and resolved. This means that state institutions are used to protect politicians ” – said the president of the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court, Michał Laskowski, quoted by “Gazeta Wyborcza”.
The Supreme Court dealt with the cassation without waiting for the decision of the Constitutional Tribunal
“Gazeta Wyborcza” informed on Tuesday that “today the Supreme Court decided to start cassation proceedings ex officio”. As it was added, “the decision was issued by the trio (which in August 2017 suspended the proceedings in connection with the dispute over powers before the Constitutional Tribunal), i.e. judges: Andrzej Stępka, Małgorzata Gierszon and Piotr Mirek”.
“In the present case, the suspension of the cassation proceedings due to the initiation of proceedings before the Constitutional Tribunal did not eliminate the pending status of the case of Mariusz K., Maciej W., Grzegorz P. and Krzysztof B. before the Supreme Court. The lack of a ruling by the Constitutional Tribunal blocks the Supreme Court from fulfilling its constitutional obligations in the field of administration of justice, and blocks the parties from exercising the constitutional right to a court. This applies not only to auxiliary prosecutors who have filed cassation appeals, but also to the defendants to whom these cassation appeals apply, “says the decision quoted by “Gazeta Wyborcza”.
It also added that “for the sake of exercising the right of parties who do not have any means to challenge the length of time a case is examined by Constitutional Courtmakes it necessary to start cassation proceedings without further waiting for the outcome of the proceedings before the Constitutional Tribunal.
Main photo source: Rafał Guz/PAP