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(en) Poland, zsp.net.pl: The court discontinued the criminal proceedings against Jakub Zaczek - the accusation of Poczta Polska SA dismissed [machine translation]

Date Thu, 25 Apr 2019 09:51:47 +0300

On April 9, 2019, the District Court for Warszawa Sródmiescie decided to discontinue the criminal proceedings against Jakub Zaczek, an activist of the Polish Syndicalists' Union, from the private prosecution of Poczta Polska SA ---- Accusation accused Zaczek that "from June 2016 to the present day, through the means of mass communication, ie the Internet, as well as during organized gatherings, he talked to Poczta Polska SA about properties or conduct that could humiliate it in the public and expose him to loss of trust necessary for a given type of activity by posting offensive or untrue comments and information about Poczta Polska SA on the Internet network, as well as publicly repeating them during organized gatherings, ie an act from Article 212 of the Penal Code. "---- In the justification of the prosecution, Poczta Polska SA added, among others:

"Apart from the risk of lowering the reputation of Poczta Polska SA in the assessment of potential clients or business contractors, there is a real risk of personnel paralysis, which would most likely result in a deterioration of the ability to perform tasks for the defense of the Polish State."

The District Court found this argument unconvincing.

The court stated that "the private prosecution brought in obviously has no real grounds for the accused, and the statements against him do not fulfill the signs of the act under Article 212 of the Penal Code." In its justification, the Court further stated:

"The accused has the accused, claiming in his defense that the private prosecutor has not provided any proof that the author of the quotes quoted on page 3 is accused.[...]In essence, it is not known whether the accused is directly accused of other people's statements or participation in the collective "propagation" of quoted slogans, due to being one of the representatives of the Polish Syndicalists' Union, which "uses to dissatisfy anarchist activity not only current employees of Poczta Polska SA but also former employees."

One could guess in this situation that the accusations quoted in the justification of the act were made by the accused during the organized gatherings. Again, however, they do not confirm this, and even deny the materials attached to the indictment.[...]The congregation was shouting "Management for 1500 PLN", "Enough exploitation", "Management for shovels". The speakers apologized to the clients for the poor quality of the service, justifying it with insufficient number of employees. The syndicalists also took the floor criticizing the current system of power in Poland.

In this situation, according to the Court, it is obvious that there is no real basis for the indictment, which accuses Jakub Zaczek of a mixture of the statements of another person (postman) and quotes of unknown origin. The offense referred to in art. 212 of the Penal Code does not provide for a collective responsibility regime, and even an active participation in an organization that "propagates" passwords that are unfavorable to an aggrieved company is not a prohibited act unless it is possible to attribute specific behavior to a specific person.

In addition, it should be pointed out that the quoted statements, although critical to the aggrieved company, and especially its management board, however, according to the Court, fall within the limits of allowed criticism and constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression. The prosecutor, citing the complaint regarding his specific public tasks and the resulting monopoly on postal services should in this situation be ready to criticize his actions, especially in the area of caring for decent working conditions and pay for employees. In this situation, the statements of postmen and people from the organization supporting them, which is allowed criticism, undertaken in the public interest, within the individual's right to freedom of expression, in the court's opinion do not fulfill the features of crime.

As a side note, quotes quoted in the complaint are criticisms of the company's management and people managing trade unions, and therefore it is natural persons - insofar as they feel offended by these remarks - should bring prosecution at their own expense. "

Previously, Poczta Polska has already tried to accuse Jakub Zaczek of "provocation to commit a crime" in connection with art. 212 of the Penal Code, however, the District Prosecutor's Office, by virtue of July 13, 2017, discontinued the proceedings in the absence of a public interest in continuing prosecution from office.

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