Magdalena Gałczyńska, Onet website
21 August 2019
According to the postings in WhatsApp, last summer, Judge Konrad Wytrykowski, who is currently a member of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court, came up with the idea of sending postcards to the Supreme Court President, Prof. Małgorzata Gersdorf. Postcard slogan: “F..ck off”. Judge Wytrykowski categorically denies everything.
- The judge’s idea was picked up by Emilia, about whom we have already written in our articles, who promoted this smear campaign on Twitter
- There was a closed group in WhatsApp called “Kasta” [Caste], which, among other things, exchanged ideas on slandering disliked judges
- According to our informers, the members of the group included Łukasz Piebiak and judge Jakub Iwaniec, who lost their positions at the Ministry of Justice after Onet’s publications, but are still judges and can still rule
- This group also included Tomasz Szmydt from the legal office of the National Council of the Judiciary (NCJ), members of the NCJ, Maciej Nawacki and Jarosław Dudzicz, as well as Konrad Wytrykowski
- Professor Gersdorf: “If it is true that such a campaign was thought up by a current judge of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court, that would be terrible”
- According to the Supreme Court’s press officer, it cannot be ruled out that the idea of judge Wytrykowski, i.e. the “F…ck off” postcard campaign, will find end up with that court’s disciplinary commissioner
- “I adamantly deny this”, judge Wytrykowski tells us. “There has never been a situation like this – it’s nonsense!”
Judge Konrad Wytrykowski was still a judge of the district court in 2016. He was then posted to the Regional Court in Legnica and soon after he became the president of the Court of Appeal in Wrocław. He was appointed to this position in December 2017 by Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro by fax, dismissing the previous president during his term of office.
Judge Wytrykowski has been Łukasz Piebiak’s close acquaintance for years, until recently Ziobro’s right hand man in the Ministry of Justice – both were formerly active members of the judicial Association, Iustitia.
In September 2018, Wytrykowski was promoted to the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court, which is to assess the professional and ethical standards of judges from all over Poland. As a member of this chamber, Konrad Wytrykowski even has the power to remove a judge from his profession or deprive a judge of his retirement, which means depriving him of his pension.
In the current model of disciplinary judiciary, this power is practically unlimited, enabling the fate of each of 10,000 judges from all over the country to be determined. Additionally, judges from the Disciplinary Chamber have a salary which is 40% higher than judges from other chambers of the Supreme Court.
“I propose a campaign of sending postcards with the slogan ‘F..ck off’”
On 20 July 2018, Onet described how judges and lawyers from all over Poland sent postcards of support to the First President of the Supreme Court.
Mass demonstrations and protests against the attempts of the Law and Justice party to retire some of the Supreme Court judges by the amendment of the Supreme Court Act were held throughout Poland at that time. The government wanted to force judges who turned 65, including Prof. Małgorzata Gersdorf, to retire and vacate the positions that the ruling camp wanted to fill with new judges.
As transpires from the postings of the closed group called “Kasta” [Caste] in WhatsApp – a group of several judges supporting the so-called good change in the administration of justice – at that time, Judge Konrad Wytrykowski, president of the Court of Appeal in Wrocław, addressed Onet’s text.
He wrote under the link to our article (original spelling):
I propose a campaign of sending postcards with the slogan: F..ck off
Other members of this closed group approved this idea, while “MS II” (according to our informers, the person sometimes appearing as “MS I” or “MS II” is Deputy Minister of Justice, Łukasz Piebiak, who has just been dismissed from the ministry) wrote:
Yesterday we took another step in the right direction but we still have a long way to go. Let’s do our thing (here is an emoticon with a clenched fist).
Emilia comes into play. The “f..ck off” campaign goes out into Poland.
Emilia, an online hater, who – as we described in two of our articles – was in constant contact with the then deputy minister of justice, Łukasz Piebiak, and his right hand man, Judge Jakub Iwaniec – took up Judge Konrad Wytrykowski’s idea of sending vulgar postcards to the First President of the Supreme Court.
A few days later, on 28 July 2018, Emilia wrote in her anonymous Twitter account:
Attention!!!! Let’s start a campaign of letters and cards with a “message” to Judge Gersdorf. Let’s express our support for the reform of the judiciary and not for the former caste of the former President of the Supreme Court [here, the woman gives the address of the Supreme Court]
She then appealed to Twitter users for “commitment” and emphasized that she herself prepared such a card for the First President (original spelling – ed.):
Write a letter with support for Judge Gersdorf. I am already writing a postcard: Dear Mrs. President:
F..CK OFF !!!
Supreme Court press officer: “disgusting methods.”
We asked Supreme Court press officer, Michał Laskowski, to comment on Judge Wytrykowski’s posting “Oh dear! These are simply disgusting methods and no decent person would use them”, he told Onet.
He added that he could not specify exactly whether such postcards with this specific, vulgar slogan came to the Supreme Court last summer. “One thing is certain: the postcards or letters which were offensive to the First President with slogans were simply disgusting and there are still a lot of them. And if the originator of at least some of these letters was a judge and current member of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court, this simply disqualifies him”, says Judge Laskowski.
“In my opinion, such a person should not be a judge. Writing anonymous letters, denunciations and the use of profanity are unsuitable for a judge, because he is to be a model for others and a person of impeccable character,” he emphasizes. “And, after all, we are talking about a member of the Disciplinary Chamber. So how can you have the legitimacy to judge other judges ethically if you are not ethical?” asks the press officer of the Supreme Court.
In his opinion, it cannot be ruled out that the matter of Judge Wytrykowski’s idea, namely the postcard campaign using the slogan “F..ck off”, will end up with the disciplinary commissioner of the Supreme Court. “Of course, the final decision will rest with the first President.” he mentions. “However, I believe such a decision would be the only natural consequence of such conduct of a member of the Disciplinary Chamber.”
Professor Gersdorf: I have three postcards with this slogan.
We asked the first President of the Supreme Court if she received any postcards with the slogan “F..ck off”. Professor Małgorzata Gersdorf admitted that “she has about three such postcards”. “There were probably more of them, but the management of the secretariat did not even give them to me; what for?” she explains. “If it is true that this campaign was thought up by a current judge of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court, this would be terrible”, she emphasizes. “A person who organizes such things should definitely not be a judge. After all, no one should organize such things – be it a judge or a teacher or a cleaner. Because it is simply harassment to humiliate another person”, she says.
Judge Wytrykowski: “I adamantly deny that I came up with an idea of the postcard campaign”
We asked Judge Konrad Wytrykowski about the campaign of sending postcards with the slogan “F..ck off” to the First President of the Supreme Court, who – according to our WhatsApp messenger screenshots – was the originator of this campaign. He replied: “I adamantly deny that. There has never been such a situation – it’s nonsense!”
When we ask judge Wytrykowski whether he was a member of a closed group called “Kasta” in WhatsApp last year, he replies that he uses this messenger, but does not identify with the “Kasta” group in any way.
“I wasn’t in this group, I’m sure of it. And did somebody impersonate me? I can’t answer that question”, he says. “However, WhatsApp works in such a way that various people invite others to various newsgroups. I have many groups of friends which I use, but the name “Kasta” says nothing to me,” emphasizes the judge of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court.
When asked if he knows and has ever contacted Emilia, about whom we wrote in our previous articles, he admits that he knew her only indirectly. “I have met this lady personally, but I got to know her indirectly, through her husband of that time, Tomasz.” he says. “When I was the president of the Court of Appeal in Wrocław, I often visited the Ministry of Justice, and Judge Tomasz was working there at that time; he was seconded to the department.” explains Judge Wytrykowski.
Members of the “Kasta” group about the President of the Supreme Court: “Like a dachshund bitch. Maybe she should be taken for a walk?”
Summer 2018 is not only the period of the most intense battle over the Supreme Court and civil protests in defence of the courts. It is also a period of increased activity of the members of the already mentioned “Kasta” group in WhatsApp.
Tomasz Szmydt, a judge of the Voivodship Administrative Court, working at the Ministry of Justice at the time (he later became the head of the Legal Office of the National Council of the Judiciary), posted a photograph of the First President of the Supreme Court on the “Kasta” group and wrote:
I advise you to pack your bags, say goodbye and f..ck off!!!
As transpires from the posting from the group, Judge Arkadiusz Cichocki, currently from the Court of Appeal in Katowice, was another member of the “Kasta” group. At that time, he responded to Szmydt, comparing Prof. Gersdorf to his dachshund:
I once had a dachshund, a bitch. Brysia also sometimes had the same expression on her face. But it passed after I took her for a walk (here an emoticon showing a deep reflection – ed.). Maybe she simply needs to be taken for a walk?
Below the link to the original publication in Polish, including some screenshots of the communications between Emilia and Wytrykowski and other members of “Kasta” group.