The District Court in Radom, as part of the electoral procedure, ordered Robert Bąkiewicz, running for the Sejm from the PiS list, to apologize to Konrad Frysztak, a member of the Civic Coalition who is running for re-election. The court ordered the correction to be published on local radio and on its social media profiles.
Bąkiewicz is also to pay PLN 3,000 to the Association for Assistance to Disabled Persons in Radom. The court also banned him from disseminating the statement he attributed to Frysztak in one of the radio broadcasts. After the hearing, the candidate from the PiS list announced that he would file a complaint against the decision of the District Court in Radom.
During an interview on September 7, Bąkiewicz, referring to the earlier television debate between both politicians, said: “I talked to MP Frysztak, who says that Polish sovereignty can be sold for two stands built at the stadium in Radom.” It was about a discussion about the Radom stadium and money from the KPO, thanks to which it would be possible to build stands for fans.
Frysztak firmly emphasized that such words had never been uttered by him. He believed that by attributing these words to him, Bąkiewicz wanted to discredit him in the eyes of voters. Therefore, the KO MP filed an election protest to the court and demanded from Bąkiewicz, among others, apology, correction and donation of money to a public benefit organization.
Court: Robert Bąkiewicz’s statement was harmful to personal rights
During Thursday’s hearing, judge Marek Gralec pointed out that Bąkiewicz himself admitted during the previous hearing (September 15) that the disputed statement by Frysztak was not made in the literal sense; that he was more concerned with the assessment in the context of the entire discussion regarding KPO funds and the entire Civic Platform.
In the court’s opinion, Bąkiewicz’s statement about Frysztak “was untrue and violated his personal rights, at the same time violating his authority as a candidate for the Sejm.” – Undoubtedly, the statement of the participant (Robert Bąkiewicz – ed.) was detrimental to personal rights and, from the point of view of a person running for the Sejm, was discreditable – noted Judge Gralec.
The judge emphasized that in these proceedings it was not the role of the court to resolve the political dispute or assess the political concept represented by both candidates to the Sejm. – In these proceedings, the role of the court is solely to determine and assess the truthfulness of the participant’s statement, which became the basis for the submitted application – noted the judge.
Bąkiewicz after the court’s decision: I can call it political chutzpah
After leaving the courtroom, Bąkiewicz told journalists that he assessed the court’s decision very badly. – I can even call it political chutzpah – said the PiS candidate. He informed that he would submit a complaint to the Court of Appeal in Lublin. According to the regulations, he has 24 hours to do so.
– I do not agree to closing our mouths in public debate and limiting freedom of speech and expression. I also do not agree that matters relating to me should be handled by a judge directly involved in a conflict with the political formation on behalf of which I am now running for the Sejm,” said Bąkiewicz, referring to his doubts regarding the impartiality of the referee judge.
Bąkiewicz wanted the referee judge excluded
At an earlier stage of the proceedings, Bąkiewicz submitted a request to the court to exclude referee Marek Gralec. The reason given was that “this judge is known for his public statements regarding the dispute between Poland and the EU and he also spoke on this topic, e.g. through judges’ appeals regarding the implementation of the judgments of the European Court and the system of judicial appointments.” According to him, Judge Gralec was also in a dispute with the PiS government, representing, among others, Association of Polish Judges Iustitia.
As explained by the spokesman for the District Court, Arkadiusz Guza, Bąkiewicz’s request to exclude the referee judge was, however, dismissed because the court found that the judge’s membership in the Iustitia Association of Polish Judges is not a basis for excluding him from the proceedings.
Main photo source: PAP/Piotr Nowak