Criminal law, case III KK 234/07

February 20th, 2009, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Supreme Court Criminal Chamber in its judgment of 7 May 2008 case file III KK 234/07 held that the freedom of the press and other means of social communication that are guaranteed in the Article 14 of the Polish Constitution, also include mass media communication, as referred to in 216 § 2 i 212 § 2 of the Criminal Code. The Court noted that Internet is deemed as a means of mass communication, whereby the offender may commit both the defamation and insult. The case concerned defamation via the Internet. The investigation established only a computer that was used to commit this type of offence. The Court observed that it is not possible to automatically connect a computer with a perpetrator. The Court ruled that there is a possibility to establish and determine the IP address to identify the owner of a specific computer, which has been used for defamatory or insulting actions, but there is no possibility to indicate who used such computer, if adequate evidence was not collected, and if the owner does not indicate the person who committed the offence. Sharing a computer with a third person is not a wrongful act. It is impossible in the current state of the law to recognize that the mere act of sharing of a computer with a third person results in criminal liability of its owner.