The prosecutor’s office plans to end the investigation against Sławomir Nowak at the beginning of next year, then his trial may also start – according to the written justification of the court’s decision received by tvn24.pl. It is about the decision of the judges from two weeks ago, who then legally decided that the former minister of transport would not return to arrest.
Sławomir Nowak spent almost nine months in various arrest cells in the Warsaw district of Białołęka, after he was arrested by the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau in July 2020.
Although he was released on April 12 after the decision of the District Court in Warsaw, since then the prosecutor’s office tried to ensure that the former politician returned to the prison.
Ultimately, the court resolved the legal battle between the prosecutor’s office and Nowak’s defense only two weeks ago, deciding that the suspect, inter alia for corruption offenses will be answered “from the free rate”.
At the same time, the court upheld the remaining sanctions whose task is to secure the investigation. Sławomir Nowak has to appear at the police station once a week, he is forbidden to leave the country combined with collecting his passport, and he is forbidden to contact the persons under investigation. His daughter also paid a one million zlotys of bail into the prosecutor’s office’s account.
The journalists of tvn24.pl learned the written justification for this decision.
The sequence of events was as follows. First (April 12) judge Agnieszka Domańska from the District Court in Warsaw she lifted Nowak’s arrest and ordered him to pay a million zlotys in bail. The prosecutor’s office appealed against this decision to the Court of Appeal in Warsaw. The one, in the person of Judge Dorota Radlińska (she sentenced Nowak years ago for not entering an expensive watch in the asset declaration), he decided that arrest was necessary, but conditional, used only in the case of non-payment of the deposit. This is an important procedural difference, but small from the suspect’s point of view, because he had to pay a million zlotys anyway to stay at large. This decision was in turn appealed against by the defense. The appellate court for the appellate court is a three-member panel of the same court and this panel made the final decision in this case two weeks ago.
Judges Ewa Gregajtys (chairman), Ewa Leszczyńska-Furtak and Zbigniew Kapiński decided that there were no sufficient reasons to continue to apply pre-trial detention to Nowak. They justified this, inter alia, with the final stage of the investigation conducted by prosecutor Jan Drelewski together with agents of the Central Anticorruption Bureau. Before the court, the prosecutor announced that he was finalizing the case and that he intended to bring an indictment against Nowak in January next year. – In the case, the essential evidence has not only been secured, but also verified – judged by the judges.
In addition, they also indicated that for four months, i.e. from the time when Nowak was at large, he had not interfered in the investigation, he had not been deluded, and had responded to every summons of the prosecutor.
The judges, on the other hand, agreed with the previous court rulings that the prosecutor’s office had substantiated that Nowak had committed a crime, which, however, does not mean that he was guilty.
In the justification, the court assessed that “evidence in the form of extensive documentation, but most of all positively verified [przez prokuratora -red.] explanations of the co-suspects Jacek P. and Dariusz Z. meet the requirement of a high probability of committing the alleged acts by Sławomir Nowak “.
Only Polish investigation
The judges also agreed with the view of Judge Radlińska that in view of the seriousness of the charges against Nowak and his extensive contacts all over the world, “the suspect could obstruct the proceedings by escaping or hiding”. However, they decided that the measures applied in this case (bail, supervision, prohibitions) would be sufficient to prevent escape or hiding.
– We are very pleased with this decision. Nowak can breathe a breath, because the prosecutor’s office moved the sun to return it to jail. Defense will be based on proving his complete innocence. But the time for that will come only after the process has begun. Only then will the time come to question the allegedly credible evidence of the prosecutor’s office, comments a close associate of the former minister of transport.
The investigation is indeed coming to an end – as the editorial staff of tvn24.pl found out unofficially – after months of deliberations in the management of the prosecutor’s office, a formal decision was made to take over the entire case against Nowak, i.e. also the charges brought against him by the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office.
This means that the Ukrainian side is no longer conducting its investigation against Nowak and he will be answerable only to the Polish court. We revealed the details of the Ukrainian investigators’ findings on tvn24.pl in August last year.
Loans from friends
In their decision of August 11, the three judges also resolved another important dispute between Nowak’s defense and the prosecutor’s office. Again in favor of the defense.
It concerns the case of one million zlotys of bail, which on behalf of Nowak was paid to the account of the prosecutor’s office by his daughter. However, the prosecutor Jan Drelewski refused to formally accept the money.
– He refused to find that the funds paid in came from a source prohibited by the act – explained in June (then the money was paid) the spokesman of the District Prosecutor’s Office in Warsaw, Aleksandra Skrzyniarz.
The Nowak family, his lawyers reported, could not afford such a large amount. Therefore, they borrowed money from many friends, it was registered with the tax office and tax was paid on them.
The three-person composition of the Court of Appeal in Warsaw pointed out that the prosecutor, refusing to accept the money, referred to changes in the law that entered into force only six days after the payment of the bail.
– Due to the fulfillment of the requirement resulting from the court’s decision [o obowiązku wpłaty miliona złotych poręczenia miliona złotych – red.] the prosecutor should draw up a report of its acceptance immediately after the payment, the judges wrote in the justification of their decision.
Interpretation of “boost”
The prosecutor’s office, refusing to accept the bail, explained that the law presupposes “the individual financial liability of the suspect or the surety”.
– Payment of a bail, for example, from fundraising, breaks this rule. It leads to a situation that neither the accused nor the person who bailed them risk losing their own funds, but the funds that they have obtained from third parties for this purpose – prosecutor Skrzyniarz told journalists.
However, the judges of the Court of Appeal in Warsaw assessed that the bail loan is fully compliant with the law and the prosecutor cannot refuse to accept such security.
They also pointed to further threats that may arise if the interpretation of the prosecutor’s office was adopted.
“Guarantees of funds from the marriage community would be excluded, after all, the defendant owns only half of them” – wrote the judges.
They also found that the prosecutor’s office had misinterpreted the notion of a gain referred to in the provision of Article 266 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, amended at the request of the Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro.
The subject of the bail may not come from the gain for the accused or another person submitting the bail for this purpose. The court or the public prosecutor may make the acceptance of the subject of the bail dependent on the proving by the person submitting the bail the source of this item.
The judges pointed out that the prosecutor’s office uses the concept of a gain as understood by the Civil Code, which is a mistake.
“An addition in civil terms is not only a donation, but also remuneration for work, income obtained from own business activity, social assistance, the amount of credit or loan obtained” – the judges said, adding that adopting the prosecutor’s interpretation would lead to “if not to exclusion , this is to a significant limitation [możliwości składania – red.] bail bond “.
– Considering the above provision as an element of the criminal law system, one should reach for a functional interpretation, understanding a gain (…) as a gain derived from an unlawful source, i.e. a prohibited act, even if it has the characteristics of a misdemeanor. “
Nowak’s attorney on bail
Theoretically, due to the lack of formal acceptance of the bail, Nowak’s daughter could demand its return.
– After the consultation with the client, we will not demand a return of the property surety. Despite the difficult financial situation, our common goal is to start the process in which we prove our client’s innocence as soon as possible – declares attorney Joanna Broniszewska in an interview with tvn24.pl.
We asked the prosecutor’s office whether, due to the court’s assessment, it intended to formally accept the bail. We are waiting for answer.
Main photo source: TVN24