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Warsaw. A missing couple from Mokotów found. Will they face charges?

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The police found them, but they were not arrested. A married couple from Warsaw, who left their apartment in Mokotów a month ago, leaving behind two sons, are in Prague, Czech Republic. They did not contact their relatives, they left a card to their sons on which they wrote: “You are brave, you will manage in life”. Now that the police know where the couple is, will the couple face charges? Will they be held criminally responsible for abandoning their children? That’s what we ask the lawyers for.

44-year-old Aneta J. and her five-year-old husband Adam, found by police officers from the Warsaw special department for searching for people. Previously, they were seen in Podhale and Slovakia.

“They’re fine, there’s nothing wrong with them.” They intend to return to the country – Michał Gaweł from the Police Headquarters told “Faktom” TVN on Wednesday.

The found couple did not explain to the policemen why they left their immediate family, including their teenage sons, who were still attending school. – The sense of security of these boys has been, I’m afraid, irretrievably ruined – says Aleksandra Piotrowska, a psychologist.

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The consequence of leaving children alone may be criminal charges against parents, for example for abandoning minors and exposing them to the danger of loss of life and health. Sylwester Marczak, spokesman for the Warsaw Police Headquarters, announces: – The documentation used will be submitted to the prosecutor’s office and the court. Further action will be taken after the analysis. For the time being, as we learn from the District Prosecutor’s Office in Warsaw, there is no investigation in this case.

Criminal responsibility

Attorney Mateusz Misiorny believes that a married couple can face two different charges. Firstly, it is about the provision stating that “whoever puts his life or health at risk, is subject to a penalty of up to five years in prison.” The second provision, which our interlocutor points out, states that “who is responsible for a helpless person, a minor and abandons them, is also subject to criminal liability.”

Several aspects will be crucial in the case. First, the investigators will check whether the parents did not leave their sons in their care.

– It all depends on who they entrusted with the care of minors and whether they entrusted it. We know from media reports that a “concerned family” informed the police about the case. So if it was the case that the parents left a letter saying that they were abandoning minors, but in fact they left them in the care of a babysitter, family or even an adult, there is no problem for such children to stay at home alone. The question is what was the intention of the parents and whether it was abandonment – says the patron.

She also points out that it is important, for example, whether they left information for children where to call in case they need help. – For example, the instruction “call the police”, “here is the number to grandma” – points out Misiorny.

The helplessness of children

Attorney Bartosz Wojda, in turn, claims that there are still two issues to be clarified in the criminal aspect. First, the age of the children. The regulations state that guardians who leave persons under the age of 15 unattended may be prosecuted. Unofficially, we know that one of the sons is not 15 years old. – The legislator decides what the limit of this act is, the legislator assumed the age of 15. This is decided by deputies, senators, the president – reminds the lawyer.

Secondly, investigators must check whether they are “unhelpful persons”. – The Penal Code does not define the phrase “clumsy”. This phrase should be defined taking into account the decisions of common courts, the Supreme Court and taking into account doctrinal statements and what we feel. All of this needs to be analysed, he said.

Custody deprivation, probation officer?

The family court will take care of the parents’ case. It is about breaking the provisions of the Family and Guardianship Code. – It should be remembered that the prosecutor who will investigate the case is obliged to inform the family court about omissions in the care of minors that he notices. The family court decides which measures provided for in the code to apply. It can be the supervision of a probation officer, it can be the assistance of an assistant taking care of minors, and in the most drastic scenario, deprivation of parental care – says attorney Misiorny.

The lawyer adds that “the subject is not unambiguous”. In his opinion, it is important whether similar situations in the family have happened before. – If there was a problem with the family before, supervision was exercised by administrative authorities or court supervision or the prosecutor’s office, the court may decide to limit parental authority or to deprive parents of parental authority – he claims.

Then the children can go to the care of relatives or to a foster family.

And he concludes: – The court will always first of all care for the welfare of the child.

In turn, attorney Wojda says that now all of Poland is wondering “why?”, why parents left their children. – They have grossly failed to fulfill their duty of caring for the children. I can’t believe that you can do such a thing, but I also know about situations where parents want to be deprived of parental authority, sometimes they decide to consciously abandon their children so that the court will deprive them of parental authority. Was that the case here? I don’t know. The answer to the question “why?” is crucial.

Main photo source: KSP

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