Katarzyna Włodkowska, a reporter for “Duży Format”, was fined PLN 500 for refusing to provide the prosecutor’s office with the information of her informant, “Gazeta Wyborcza” informs on Friday. Włodkowska in the report on the murder of Paweł Adamowicz, quoted the statement of the person who was to witness the conversation in which Stefan W. spoke about the plans to murder the president of Gdańsk. Investigators called her in for questioning last week. Włodkowska – released by the court of journalistic secrecy – refuses to disclose the informant.
Katarzyna Włodkowska’s report “I will sit for two years and I will leave” was published on the first anniversary of the death of the President of Gdańsk, Paweł Adamowicz, on January 20, 2020.
In the text, the author quoted the words of one of the people who was to witness the conversation of Stefan W. attacker with “necks”, in which he spoke about the planned murder of the president of Gdańsk. It was supposed to happen in December 2018, shortly before Adamowicz’s death. The future killer was supposed to get out of the car after ten minutes and tell his colleagues that he “already knows what he is going to do.”
The reporter also revealed in the report a fragment of a letter that Stefan W. was to send from prison to one of the brothers, in which he suggested that due to the fact that he was considered insane, he would face a milder punishment. He was supposed to write that “he will probably sit for two years and leave”.
Hearing at the prosecutor’s office and refusal to provide information about the informant
The prosecutor’s office wants the reporter to reveal the name of the informant whose words she quoted in the report. He himself asked for anonymity because he was afraid for his and his family’s health and indicated a lack of trust in the prosecutor’s office.
The journalist was questioned on October 29 this year at the District Prosecutor’s Office in Gdańsk, but refused to provide the informer’s personal details, although she was previously released from journalistic secrecy by the court.
– I refused on the grounds of journalistic secrecy and provided extensive motivating explanations as to why I refused. Among other things, justifying it with principles, i.e. my duty to protect the informant and clearly indicating that the knowledge he shared with me was included in the text – Włodkowska said at the time.
A fine of PLN 500
On Friday, “Gazeta Wyborcza” announced that that day the office of her attorney “received the decision of the District Prosecutor’s Office in Gdańsk”.
“This is a decision to ‘impose a fine on the witness Katarzyna Włodkowska in the amount of PLN 500 for unjustified evasion of testimony,” the daily reported. It was noted that the decision was issued on October 29, thus on the day of Włodkowska’s interrogation.
“The prosecutor’s office issued a decision, referring to the judgment of the Gdańsk court of appeal of October 15, which lifted Włodkowska from the obligation to keep journalistic confidentiality. He also cites the reporter’s arguments in it, ignoring facts that are inconvenient for himself: that the interlocutor quoted by Włodkowska clearly admits in the text that he does not he knows who was in the car. Because he described what he saw “- we read on.
Tomasz Ejtminowicz, legal counsel, representative of “Wyborcza”, announced that he would lodge a complaint with the court against the decision on the fine. He described the matter as “a dispute over principles.”
Włodkowska, quoted by “GW”, argued that “the decision not to disclose the informant is irrevocable”. “It is my duty to protect the interlocutor” – she added.
Dispute over disclosure of informant’s data
The dispute over the disclosure of the sources of information obtained by the journalist has been going on for almost two years.
“First, the Gdańsk prosecutor’s office initiated an investigation into the report, justifying it with the disclosure by ‘DF’ of information from the investigation and entrusted it to investigators from Bydgoszcz. And they searched for its sources for a year and a half and finally discontinued the proceedings,” Gazeta Wyborcza informed.
In October 2020 – as reported by “GW” – Włodkowska was summoned for questioning, and the prosecutor, Agnieszka Nickel-Rogowska, who interrogated her, wanted to know the name of the reporter’s informant, although according to the law only the court can release journalistic secrets. After refusing to provide the information of the informant, Nickel-Rogowska imposed a fine on the journalist in the amount of PLN 500, and only then applied to the court to release Włodkowska from the obligation to maintain secrecy – the journal pointed out.
On October 15, the Court of Appeal in Gdańsk legally removed the journalistic secret from Włodkowska. As “Wyborcza” writes, the justification for such a decision was to be the good of the justice system.
Another expert opinion in the case of Stefan W.
The murder of the president of Gdańsk, Paweł Adamowicz, remains unclear. There is still no indictment against Stefan W. In September, she went to the prosecutor’s office the third expert opinion on the mental health of Stefan W.which can be decisive. The previous two expert opinions were contradictory.
On the night of January 13-14, 2019, Adamowicz underwent a five-hour operation in the hospital. The next day, he died without regaining consciousness. The autopsy revealed that he had three deep wounds – one in the area of the heart and two in the abdomen. Stefan W. was arrested shortly after the attack on a local government official. He was charged with the murder of a motive that deserved particular condemnation. If the experts decide that Stefan W. was sane at the time of the attack, he will be brought to trial, and the murder is punishable by life imprisonment.
Main photo source: TVN24