The unrecognized Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court permitted the prosecution of Marek Pietruszyński, judge of this court. Only the operative part of the judgment was public, its justification remains unknown. The decision is not final.
The case of Judge Marek Pietruszyński is one of the three applications that the National Prosecutor’s Office filed against three judges of the Supreme Court from the Criminal Chamber at the end of March. Apart from judge Marek Pietruszyński, these were judges: Włodzimierz Wróbel and Andrzej Stępka.
Judge Wróbel was a member of the Supreme Court, which in October 2019 quashed the sentence against a man sentenced to two years in prison for causing an accident. According to the investigators, the judge, contrary to his duty, did not check whether the punishment was already being carried out. Thus, according to the prosecutor’s office, the man was illegally imprisoned in a prison. Judge Stępka sat in the panel together with Judge Wróbel. On the other hand, according to the prosecutor’s office, as a result of judge Pietruszyński’s negligence, another man was imprisoned in a different case.
On Thursday, the Disciplinary Chamber, not recognized by the Supreme Court, allowed the judge to be held criminally responsible. The decision is not final. Only the operative part of the judgment was public. The reasons for the justification will be presented via a message posted on the Supreme Court website.
Unrecognized Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court
In March this year The European Commission sent a complaint to the Court of Justice of the European Union regarding the activities of the Disciplinary Chamber and applied for interim measures pending a final judgment.
The EC decided, inter alia, that the continued operation of the Disciplinary Chamber limited the independence of judges in Poland. It is about the use of measures such as lifting immunities in criminal cases, suspending duties or limiting remuneration violates judicial independence. According to the Commission, this is a serious blow to the independence of the judiciary across the Union.
Judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union
July 15 Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that the system of disciplinary liability of judges in Poland is inconsistent with EU law. The day before, the CJEU obliged Poland to suspend the application of the provisions concerning, in particular, the powers of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court, also in matters such as the lifting of judicial immunities.
In mid-August, in response to the Polish government’s response to the European Commission regarding the Disciplinary Chamber, it was written that Poland would continue reforms of the judiciary, also in the areas of judges’ responsibility. The Council of Ministers also informed the European Commission about the plans to liquidate this Chamber in its present form.
In early September, the European Commission informed that it had decided to ask the CJEU to impose financial penalties on Poland for failure to comply with the decision on interim measures of 14 July.
Main photo source: Piotr Nowak / PAP