The CBA and the prosecutor in Judge Beata Morawiec’s home. They secured a laptop. (Magdalena Gałczyńska)

The CBA[1] and the prosecutor in Judge Beata Morawiec’s home. They secured a laptop

Magdalena Gałczyńska, 18 September 2020

Today, shortly after 6 a.m., CBA officers and a prosecutor appeared at Judge Beata Morawiec’s home. They had a warrant to search the flat if the judge did not voluntarily hand over her laptop – which she did, so the search did not physically take place. As we wrote in Onet, the National Prosecutor’s Office announced that it would press charges against the judge, but for the time being she has immunity and no status of a suspect.

  • The prosecutor’s office secured Judge Morawiec’s laptop and, at her place of work – the Regional Court in Krakow – also an official printer and a printout of her analysis
  • The National Prosecutor’s Office wants to accuse the judge of, inter alia, accepting a mobile phone as a bribe and taking a fee for an analysis which, according to the National Prosecutor’s Office, she did not actually prepare
  • Judge Beata Morawiec is the head of the ‘Themis’ Association and former President of the Regional Court in Kraków, openly criticizing the changes in the judiciary being implemented by PiS
  • She won a lawsuit in the first instance against Zbigniew Ziobro, whom she sued for an infringement of her reputation. Ziobro appealed against the judgement

Beata Morawiec is one of the most famous judges in Poland, head of the ‘Themis’ Association, which openly criticizes the changes in the judiciary being implemented by PiS. She is conducting litigation against Zbigniew Ziobro. She was the first court president dismissed in Poland to sue the minister of justice for, as she argued, an attempt to discredit her through an announcement by the ministry. When she was dismissed from the office of President of the Krakow Regional Court, the ministry suggested this was related to a corruption scandal of court directors – on which the presidents had no influence, because directors are directly subordinated to the ministry. The judge demanded an apology from Ziobro – and the court found for her. An appeal will be conducted in this case shortly.

However, information about plans to press charges against the judge was confirmed several days ago by the National Prosecutor’s Office. Judge Morawiec herself briefly acknowledged the allegations: ‘I am speechless’.

Dawn raid of the services at Judge Morawiec’s home

This morning, the services came to the judge’s home. The prosecutor and two CBA agents secured the judge’s laptop. It should be emphasized that no charges have been pressed against Judge Morawiec to date.

‘No search was conducted at the Kraków Regional Court Judge’s place of residence. In accordance with the provisions of the Criminal Procedures Code, items were handed over voluntarily and were secured and may constitute evidence in the proceedings,’ the National Prosecutor’s Office informed Onet.

A situation arose in which officers, namely a prosecutor and two CBA agents, arrived with a prosecutor’s warrant to search the home of the judge, whose immunity has not been cancelled and on whom no charges have been pressed,’ Judge Dariusz Mazur, press officer of the ‘Themis’ Association, tells Onet. ‘The Prosecutor’s Office stated that the Themis Association’s announcement yesterday on Twitter that the judge is in the possession of a study, the alleged lack of which has become the basis of the prosecutor’s request to cancel her immunity, was the reason for the search.’ he emphasizes.

The judge voluntarily shows on Twitter that she has this document, which clearly indicates that she does not intend to hide this evidence. In response, no one from the law enforcement agencies requests her to hand over this evidence, but, at 6.30 a.m. some ‘sad gentlemen’ arrive to conduct a search,’ Judge Mazur points out. ‘A physical search of the flat did not take place only because the judge immediately voluntarily handed over the laptop, because she has nothing to hide and, besides, it would be difficult for her to struggle with the officers. However, this was not the end of the ‘attractions’ of the day. As soon as Judge Morawiec arrived at work, it turned out that the ‘sad gentlemen’ were waiting for her in court, and – with the consent of the court director – secured the official printer and printout of the study’  says Judge Mazur. ‘Interestingly, the search warrant was signed by Prosecutor Michał Walendzik, born in 1981, seconded to the National Prosecutor’s Office from the District Prosecutor’s Office in Rawa Mazowiecka, namely someone who was transferred from the bottom of the prosecution hierarchy to the very top with one signature. Such a person has a natural inclination to confirm his usefulness,’ ironizes Judge Mazur.

‘The services secure the laptop, which can contain information containing secrets of a judge’s deliberations. The measures used are unlawful as they are completely disproportionate to the situation,’ emphasizes the ‘Themis’ press officer. ‘In this way, the protection granted to a judge against the repressive actions of other authorities through the immunity turned out to be a bouncing cheque. This constitutes the further actions of the prosecutor’s office intended to humiliate the rebellious judge and lynch her in the media. The Wild West, but based on eastern models, a police state,’ he concludes.

With what does the prosecutor’s office want to charge the head of the judicial organization?

Ewa Bialik, press officer of the National Prosecutor’s Office, informed Onet that ‘The Internal Affairs Department of the National Prosecutor’s Office sent a request to the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court for consent to prosecute Beata M., judge of the Regional Court in Krakow.’

The Internal Affairs Department of the National Prosecutor’s Office intends to charge her with embezzling public funds, acting to the detriment of the public interest in order to gain financial benefits, abusing rights and accepting financial benefits. These acts are punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment,’ the press department of the National Prosecutor’s Office informs us. ‘As was established in the investigation, Judge Beata M. accepted remuneration for work for the Court of Appeal in Krakow which she did not perform and was not supposed to perform. The agreement for preparing the study named “Recovery of court debts with regard to the criminal division” dated 11 February 2013 was fictitious. It was used to conceal the embezzlement of State Treasury funds,’ emphasizes the National Prosecutor’s Office in its announcement ‘The agreement was signed in consultation with the then director of the Court of Appeal in Krakow, Andrzej P., and with the consent of the then president of that court, Krzysztof S. The study for the court, which was the subject of that agreement, was never prepared,’ emphasizes the National Prosecution Office.

Meanwhile, Judge Beata Morawiec, with whom Onet spoke, points out that she is prepared to present this analysis – dated 2013 – to the public at any time.

What does the prosecutor’s office want to prove?

As National Prosecutor’s Office argues in its communication, ‘the disclosure of a crime is a consequence of an extensive investigation into a corruption scandal at the Court of Appeal in Krakow.’ As a result, the former director of the Krakow court, Andrzej P., was charged with leading an organized criminal group, which embezzled almost PLN 35 million from that court. For the sake of accuracy – court directors are appointed directly by the Minister of Justice and report to the minister’ their role is purely administrative – they are not accountable to the courts.

‘The prosecutor’s office intends to charge Judge Beata M. with embezzling public funds and acting to the detriment of the public interest in order to gain financial benefits in connection with a fictitious agreement,’ the prosecutor’s office informs us.

Charges are to be pressed against Judge Morawiec, among others for allegedly accepting a mobile phone from a defendant – after a favourable judgment in his case. ‘Oh please, no, in 2012 – when I was allegedly supposed to have received this telephone and other ‘fruits’ – I was the deputy disciplinary officer at the Regional Court in Krakow. And really, it wasn’t me who was approached with some strange proposition of a ‘show’ of mobile phones, as one pro-government portal writes. Because it is the court directors who have such ‘shows’, so how was I supposed to accept such a ‘bribe’ in the form of a mobile phone?’ Judge Morawiec tells us.

 

Link to the original publication in Polish:

https://wiadomosci.onet.pl/kraj/zbigniew-ziobro-i-beata-morawiec-sluzby-w-domu-sedzi/m688xlf

[1] Centralne Biuro Antykorupcyjne  – Central Anti-Corruption Office (CBA)