Computer crime, case V KK 391/11

September 20th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

Mr Łukasz Kasprowicz publishes frequently different news and information about the municipal office at Mosina on his website (blog) available at Zofia Springer the Mayor of Mosina filed private charges against Mr Kasprowicz on the basis of Article 212 § 2 of the Criminal Code – CRC – (in Polish: Kodeks Karny) of 6 June 1997, published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 88, item 553, with subsequent amendments.

Article 212. § 1. Whoever imputes to another person, a group of persons, an institution or organisational unit not having the status of a legal person, such conduct, or characteristics that may discredit them in the face of public opinion or result in a loss of confidence necessary for a given position, occupation or type to activity shall be subject to a fine, the penalty of restriction of liberty or the penalty of deprivation of liberty for up to one year.

§ 2. If the perpetrator commits the act specified in § 1 through the mass media shall be subject to a fine, the penalty of restriction of liberty or the penalty of deprivation of liberty for up to 2 years.

§ 3. When sentencing for an offence specified in §1 or 2, the court may adjudge a supplementary payment in favour of the injured person or of the Polish Red Cross, or of another social purpose designated by the injured person a supplementary payment (nawiązka).

§ 4. The prosecution of the offence specified in § 1 or 2 shall occur upon a private charge.

The mayor felt insulted by some of the stories published by the blogger and concluded that the routine writing about her and the office is undermining its reputation. The Observatory of Media Freedom in Poland run by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights was present during the hearing as a person of trust, based on Article 361 § 3 of the Criminal Proceedings Code – CRPC – (in Polish: Kodeks Postępowania Karnego) of 6 June 1997, Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 89, item 555, with subsequent amendments. During the hearing on 9 May 2010, Łukasz Kasprowicz was referred by the Court for a psychiatric examination (in search for the opinion of an expert psychiatrist), and the counsel for the defence was appointed by the Court.

The Regional Court in Poznań Stare Miasto in its judgment of 25 January 2011 case file VIII K 745/09/8 sentenced Łukasz Kasprowicz for three hundred hours of community service and prohibited Mr Kasprowicz from performing professional activities as a journalist for one year, which also means the annual ban on publishing articles on the Internet. Mr Kasprowicz appealed. The District Court in Poznań in its judgment of 8 June 2011 case file IV Ka 266/11 overturned the questioned judgment. The Court acquitted Mr Kasprowicz of 13 charges, and in the other two the Court decided to discontinue the case/proceedings due to the relatively low social harm of the actions. Zofia Springer filed a cassation complaint to the Supreme Court of the Republic of Poland.

The Supreme Court in its judgment of 16 October 2012 case file V KK 391/11 decided that opinions published on websites are not different from these expressed in other media. Therefore, the assessment on the infringement of personal rights should be not applied differently.