Judge of the District Court in Gliwice, Paweł Strumiński, demanded that the head of the National Court Register, Dagmara Pawełczyk-Woicka, send documentation related to the nomination process in his court. After the deadline for delivery expired, he imposed a fine on the chairwoman. In a statement, the National Court Register maintains that the documents were sent to the Gliwice court, and more specifically to its president, but they were not included in the case file. As reported, Pawełczyk-Woicka filed a complaint to Zbigniew Ziobro in this case and a request to the prosecutor’s office.
The press office of the National Council of the Judiciary informed that, by order of January 25 this year, Paweł Strumiński, a judge of the District Court in Gliwice, obliged the head of the National Council of the Judiciary, Dagmara Pawełczyk-Woicka, to send “full documentation in the National Court Register related to the nomination process for the position of a District Court judge in Gliwice, together with full documentation covering the proceedings regarding the process of prior appointment of the same person to the position of assessor”.
The court set a deadline of 14 days for this, under pain of imposing a fine of PLN 2,000 for failure to perform the obligation on time.
The KRS reported that a copy of the decision was received by the Council on February 9, and the requested documents were presented to the Gliwice court on February 17. It was clarified that the letter was addressed to the president of the court and added that on March 6, the president informed the head of the National Court Register that he had read the letter of Judge Strumiński.
It went on to say that on February 24, the District Court in Gliwice imposed a fine of PLN 2,000 on Pawełczyk-Woicka, explaining that the head of the National Court Register had not responded to the court’s request.
Therefore, as we read, on April 19, the head of the National Court Register held a conversation with the president of the Gliwice court, from whom “information was obtained that the letter of February 17, 2023 is being analyzed in terms of the regulations of the Code of Administrative Procedure (-sic!!!), it has not been submitted to the case files (…), and a similar fate befell the attachments to this letter in the form of documents requested by the court”.
Complaint to Ziobro, notification to the prosecutor’s office
The National Court Register informed that a day later – on April 20 – Pawełczyk-Woicka sent a letter to the Minister of Justice and the Prosecutor General Zbigniew Ziobro a complaint regarding the behavior of the president of the Gliwice District Court.
In the complaint, the head of the National Court Register accuses him of a crime under Articles 276 (destruction or concealment of a document) and 231 of the Penal Code (exceeding powers).
Whoever destroys, damages, makes useless, hides or removes a document that he has no right to dispose of, is subject to a fine, the penalty of restriction of liberty or imprisonment for up to 2 years.
§ 1. A public official who, by exceeding his powers or failing to fulfill his duties, acts to the detriment of the public or private interest, is subject to the penalty of deprivation of liberty for up to 3 years. (…)
In a statement, the Council also indicated that on April 21, a notification was submitted to the prosecutor’s office about the possibility of committing a crime – “exceeding the powers on February 24, 2023 in Gliwice by a public official – judge of the District Court in Gliwice, consisting of intentional and motivated political issuance (…) of a decision imposing a fine on the Chairman of the National Court Register in the state of obvious lack of legal and factual grounds for imposing a fine and thus acting to the detriment of the public interest, which may have the characteristics of a prohibited act under Article 231 paragraph 1 of the Penal Code”.
KRS about the judge’s entries
Justifying such steps, the KRS letter stated that the “intentional aspect of Judge Strumiński’s actions” is indicated, among other things, by his activity in social media “consisting in repeatedly publishing extremely politically engaged comments, questioning not only the direction, but the legality of the reforms” justice, the emotional and stylistic features of which testify to his fierceness and go far beyond the moderation and restraint befitting a judge in expressing political views.
The KRS also mentioned that Strumiński in his entries devoted “separate attention” to the head of the KRS, who – as it was written – accused of not understanding the issue of independence or impartiality and being “at the service of politicians”.
“On the basis of the general contestation of the reforms of the judiciary, the Chairman of the National Council of the Judiciary was undoubtedly on the ‘short list’ of people who the judge had a particular reluctance, aversion and resentment, taking on an almost personal dimension, which emotions he vented using the opportunities offered to him by the held office office,” it said.
The statement noted that the head of the National Court Register “expects” Ziobro and the prosecutor’s office to provide a “reliable explanation of the case”, in particular an answer to the question of whether the judge “acted in consultation with the President of the District Court in Gliwice and other persons”.
When publishing the statement on Twitter, the KRS accused the Association of Polish Judges Iustitia – in which Strumiński is active – “acting like a political party”.
Dagmara Pawełczyk-Woicka became the president of the National Court Register in May 2022. The judge has the opinion of a person close to Zbigniew Ziobro. She tried unsuccessfully to join the National Council of the Judiciary even before the rule of Law and Justice. In 2018, she became the president of the District Court in Kraków, nominated by Ziobro. Her promotion was one of the most spectacular: from the lowest level, i.e. a district court judge, to the president of the SO in Kraków, one of the largest courts in Poland.
Main photo source: Wojciech Olkusnik/EastNews