The Court of Appeal in Kraków found that Judge Beata Morawiec could have issued a judgment in the criminal case because at the time of its announcement she was not suspended from her duties and had the right to adjudicate. It was a day after the invalid decision of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court to suspend the judge from his duties.
President of the Association of Judges “Themis” Beata Morawiec in October last year. issued a judgment in a criminal case. The verdict was issued the day after late in the evening on October 12, when the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court unlawfully lifted Morawiec’s immunity and suspended her from official duties. Judge Morawiec explained then that, regardless of the assessment of the Disciplinary Chamber, her decision had not yet been delivered to her.
The president of the District Court in Kraków – ruled by Morawiec – Dagmara Pawełczyk-Woicka, therefore asked the local appellate court to reopen the proceedings ex officio in the case in which Morawiec issued the judgment.
The ok.press portal informed that SA, in its decision on this request, the President of SO decided that it could issue a judgment. According to this decision, the Disciplinary Chamber “did not revoke the immunity and did not effectively suspend” Judge Morawiec. “The court ruled that the Chamber cannot waive the immunities of judges, because in April 2020 its judicial activity was suspended by the Court of Justice of the EU” – we read. As indicated, among others, by And the President of the Supreme Court, Małgorzata Manowska, the issues of settling the immunity cases of judges were not covered by that decision of the CJEU.
The information from the portal that the president of the SO had filed a motion regarding the judgment of Judge Morawiec was confirmed by the spokesman of Krakow SA, Judge Tomasz Szymański. – The arguments contained in the application indicate that the resolution on lifting the immunity of judge Morawiec and, consequently, suspending her from her professional duties is immediately enforceable. Therefore, as emphasized in the application, Judge Morawiec could not adjudicate on the next day – he explained.
As Szymański said, the SO president indicated in her application that “this is an absolute ground of appeal, because the case was ruled by a person not entitled to adjudicate”. The Ombudsman explained that if the court recognized such a state of affairs, it would constitute grounds for setting aside a judgment issued by an unauthorized person.
As Szymański explained, in SA’s opinion, however, “the consequences related to the lifting of immunity and possible criminal proceedings against the judge are more extensive than possible disciplinary liability”. Thus, “the appellate court, in its decision of 22 March, found, however, that the CJEU decision also covers immunity cases”.
Therefore, as summed up by Szymański, “the court found that the decision of the Disciplinary Chamber was ineffective and, as a consequence, Judge Morawiec was not suspended from performing her duties and had the power to adjudicate”. Therefore, SA did not find grounds to resume ex officio proceedings in the case in which Morawiec issued the judgment.
– As regards immunity, i.e. permission to bring a judge to criminal liability and, consequently, to suspend and reduce his salary, the only competent court is the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court, said the press spokesman of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court, Piotr Falkowski. As he recalled, common courts, including courts of appeal, do not deal with the immunity cases of judges.
Judge Morawiec herself also referred to this case and announced that she would take further steps in connection with this ruling. – Tomorrow I will submit a request for this justification to be served on me, because it is important to me from the point of view of a possible application for reinstatement, which I plan to submit to the labor court – she explained.
Judge Morawiec explained that she was not a party to these proceedings, and therefore the decision with the justification had not been served on her. – I only know as much as people say about it, and I learned about the content of the ruling from journalists – she admitted. As she noted, “only when I know the content of the justification, I will be able to say something more about it”.
– Apparently, the justification raised exactly the same arguments as in the decision of the Court of Appeal in Warsaw, which stated that judge Igor Tuleya may adjudicate because the actions of the Disciplinary Chamber are illegal – emphasized Morawiec.
In October last year The Disciplinary Chamber unlawfully revoked Morawiec’s immunity; it also decided to suspend the former president of the district court in Krakow and reduce her remuneration by 50 percent. At the end of October last year Judge Morawiec informed that she had lodged a complaint with the defense lawyers against this decision.
The prosecutor’s office requested the waiver of the judge’s immunity. Investigators intend to accuse Morawiec of misappropriation of public funds, activities to the detriment of the public interest in order to gain financial benefits, abuse of powers and accept financial benefits. Judge Morawiec does not agree with these allegations. “I have nothing to reproach myself for and I believe that these attacks are part of the political game,” she said in September last year. in an interview with PAP. On Tuesday, she repeated in front of the Supreme Court building that the prosecution’s accusations were “completely silly and bogus”, she did not enter the hearing later.
A day after the immunity was lifted, Judge Morawiec issued one sentence. In an interview with PAP, she noted then that in order for “a resolution to be legally binding, it must be delivered”, and also consist of two parts – a sentence and a justification. “The Disciplinary Chamber did not announce the resolution together with the justification. Mr. Adam Tomczyński announced the sentence itself, and then gave the verbal reasons for the judgment and informed the media that the justification would be in two days. So the resolution did not exist at the time it was announced” – she indicated.
At that time, the Disciplinary Chamber responded to the matter. As Falkowski said then, “while the authorization to bring criminal liability itself is invalid, the decision to suspend a judge and reduce her remuneration for the duration of this suspension is immediately enforceable”. “The president of the District Court in Krakow was immediately informed about the resolution. The judge cannot perform any official duties in the court, in particular, perform judicial functions” – he emphasized.
In the second half of February this year. The Disciplinary Chamber started to consider Judge Morawiec’s complaint about lifting immunity. The Supreme Court adjourned its meeting then. The reasons for the postponement were, among others motions submitted by the defense attorneys of Morawiec to exclude judges examining the complaint.