The Supreme Court decided on Friday that the Minister of Justice must apologize to Warsaw judge Justyna Koska-Janusz in a trial for infringement of personal rights. The Supreme Court dismissed the cassation of the head of the Ministry of Justice of March 2020.
The Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court decided this case on Friday in closed session. Thus, the long-term civil lawsuit ended, which judge Justyna Koska-Janusz brought to the Minister of Justice-State Treasury for infringement of her personal rights after the publication of the statement of the Ministry of Justice of October 2016 on the shortening of her delegation to the district court. The judge felt offended by the ministry’s statement.
Court of Appeal: Minister of Justice must apologize
In October 2019, the Court of Appeal in Warsaw legally ruled that the Minister of Justice must apologize to Judge Justyna Koska-Janusz for violating her personal rights. In the opinion of this court, the action of the Minister of Justice by publishing the communiqué constituted “a public statement of the executive power interfering with the exercise of judicial power by a particular judge”.
In the justification of this ruling, it was indicated that the court of first instance correctly found that the statement of the Ministry of Justice infringes the personal rights of Judge Koski-Janusz. “Undoubtedly, it is impossible not to notice that the entire statement puts the plaintiff clearly in a bad light and is discrediting (…) In general, the law does not provide for the competence of the minister of justice to publicly criticize the judge’s work, and even more so unjustified criticism that violates personal rights judge,” the court said.
Immediately after the announcement of the ruling by the appellate court, the attorney of the Minister of Justice, attorney Hubert Kubik, said that he would recommend filing a cassation appeal in this case. “We are still of the opinion that the judge’s personal rights have not been violated and we do not agree with several statements of the appellate court” – noted the lawyer. Ultimately, the Minister of Justice filed a cassation appeal to the Supreme Court in March 2020, and the court withheld the publication of the apology.
Earlier, the District Court in Warsaw, ruling in this case, found that the justice minister violated the judge’s personal rights, ordered him to apologize and to remove the statement on the withdrawal of the delegation from the ministry. The resort appealed against this verdict.
In an October 2016 communiqué of the Ministry of Justice about the shortening of the delegation of judge Kosce-Janusz, which was the basis of the dispute, it was written that “the Ministry of Justice received information that it was judge Justyna Koska-Janusz who was supposed to show exceptional incompetence and completely unable to deal with conducting a very a simple but high-profile case, which was widely commented and criticized in the media. “It was about an event in December 2013 caused by Izabella Ch., who, under the influence of alcohol, drove a luxury Mercedes into an underground passage in the very center of Warsaw. The media blamed Justyna Koska-Janusz, who was conducting the case, for leniency towards the accused and inefficiency in handling the case” – was then written in a statement by MS.
“After checking this information, on September 19, 2016, the Minister of Justice decided to shorten the delegation of Judge Justyna Koski-Janusz until October 1, 2016, in order to avoid the allegation that such a judge rules in the District Court, where complex and difficult cases are heard. Only judges with high skills, efficiency and professionalism should adjudicate on district courts,” the ministry said in a statement posted on its website and sent to the media.
After the news about the shortening of the delegation was revealed, the media reported that Koska-Janusz also ruled on the case Zbigniew Ziobrowhen he accused the former president of PZU Jaromir Netzel of defamation, and agreed with Netzel. It was about Netzl’s words before the parliamentary investigative committee investigating the 2007 land scandal, when the former head of PZU said that his telephone conversations with the minister at that time were lost because “Ziobro, then the prosecutor general, took care of it.” During one of the trials, Judge Koska-Janusz imposed PLN 2,000 on Ziobro. a fine for being late.
Judge Koska-Janusz is currently adjudicating in the 2nd Criminal Division of the District Court for Warszawa-Śródmieście
Main photo source: TVN24