The case relates to a request for public information submitted by the Watchdog Civic Network to Lux Veritatis. The answer was finally given, but – as the agency asserts – it was too late and incomplete. The Prosecutor’s Office initially refused to prosecute the case, and then suspended it twice.
Therefore, the association submitted a subsidiary indictment to the court. They are: the President of the Foundation, Father Tadeusz Redzek, and the members of the Board of Directors, Father Jan Kroll and Lydia Kochanovic-Mike.
The organization has applied for a one-year prison sentence for all defendants and a 15-year ban on holding positions in entities that use public funds.
On Thursday, the Voula District Court decided to acquit Father Tadeusz Redzek and Father Jan Kroll. Only Lydia Kochanovic-Mike was convicted and sentenced to three months in prison, suspended for one year and three thousand. PLN fine. The court also obligated her to disclose public information requested by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
This was confirmed by Judge Katarzina Piec Mike Kochanovic was the only accused who “realized all the features of the act with which she was accused”. She added that the punishment imposed should have a preventive function.
The court also took into account the long duration of the law – that is, the fact that no complete response to the public information request has yet been given.
– Sometimes it is possible to draw conclusions effectively against entities that do not provide information. Of the 3 members of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, the court found one person guilty and ordered the disclosure of the information that the IAEA must pay PLN 5040 of court costs – commented Watchdog Polska Civic Network.
Sometimes it is possible to draw conclusions effectively against entities that do not provide information. Of the 3 members of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, the court found one person guilty and ordered the disclosure of the information that the IAEA must pay the sum of PLN 5,040 acquitted of court costs >> https://t.co/T8jtPjjOop pic.twitter.com/foR7omDtiR
– Watchdog Polska (@SiecObywatelska) March 24, 2022
Father Rydzyk: The indictment of the director of Lux Veritatis is a political matter
Father Tadeusz Redzek assessed that the sentencing of Lydia Kochanovic-Mike to board member and director of Lux Veritatis for not divulging public information was a “political matter”. He emphasized her high competencies and dedication to the service she provided.
“I would like to say that we are very grateful to the director, all of us, not only on the radio, but also of the many people in Poland, for what you do so efficiently with incredible dedication. This is a service in evangelizing Poland and the world. (…) We have great confidence in you. We thank you All at your service,” Father Redzek said on Radio Marija, addressing Mike Kochanovic.
The Redemptorist emphasized that you do not have to collapse and do your own thing, and what is happening now is a continuation of the activities that have accompanied Radio Maryja and Telewizja Trwam since the beginning.
“This is a political question. We can see how much has to be done in Poland, as well as in shaping pronouns so that the Catholic is Catholic, and the Pole is polar. There is a lot to be done and our Ministry serves this purpose – to shape and shape people. (..) We can To see how much repairs are needed, how many things need to be fixed. The justice system also leaves much to be desired “- said the Redeemer.
Mike Kochanovic said her conscience was clear and that the year-long trial did not confirm any of the charges against her.
“The court ruled on the fact that in a letter dated November 3, 2016, Watchdog requested to inform the public. The application had two points. Information was obtained on the first point, and we issued a negative decision on the second point. of the application. This administrative decision was processed in Administrative courts, first and second instance. The court has found that this administrative decision was made correctly, is final and irrevocable. (…) The court has obligated me today to disclose this information, and I cannot disclose it, because I will break the administrative law “- he said Lux Veritatis Board Members.
Defender Kochanowicz-Mańk adv. “The case is pending and perhaps everything will be done in the direction in which an appeal will be lodged,” Bowie Banek noted.
The lawyer asserted that the oral justification of the verdict showed that Kochanovic-Mike was accused of something else, and that it had been assigned to her. “I can say with full force that the accusation, which is contained in the indictment, was not only intelligible in Polish, but was incomprehensible to me as a lawyer. He understands it and no one can understand it” – argued the lawyer.
The Prosecutor General’s Office suspended the investigation, and the agency filed an indictment note
The Watchdog Polska Association filed a lawsuit against the Lux Veritatis Foundation, because it did not want to disclose its expenditures from public funds, which Watchdog applied for in June 2016. As the association has confirmed many times, the answer they received was late and incomplete – Lux Veritatis gave answers on one of the two points.
The prosecution initially refused to initiate proceedings in this case, and subsequently I canceled them twice. Therefore, the association submitted a subsidiary indictment to the court. She referred to art. 23 of the Public Information Access Act, according to which if a person, contrary to his obligation, does not disclose public information, he is subject to a fine, penalty of restriction of liberty or penalty of deprivation of liberty for a period of up to one year. This article was to be a topic of jurisprudence Constitutional Court.
The trial began in July of this year, first the members of the board of directors were interviewed – Father Tadeusz Redzek, Father Jan Kroll and Lydia Kochanovic-Mike. Father Rydzyk argued that the trial was about taking the name Telewizja Trwam and “destroying everything Polish and Catholic”.
In August – during the next edition of the trial – three witnesses were questioned, including the president of the Watchdog Association, who, among other things, answered questions about the finances of this organization.
The IAEA wanted a year in prison for Lux Veritatis board members
Proceedings pending before the Warsaw Wola District Court expired on 10 March. The Monitoring League demanded that the defendants be punished with a year in prison and a 15-year ban on holding positions in entities that use public funds.
“We can assume that the right to public information is marginal and unimportant (…) However, it is not a marginal right, but a fundamental right,” said Adam Kuczynski, a lawyer representing the IAEA.
As he emphasized, the monarch is unable to exercise his power effectively without having sufficient knowledge – and this includes knowledge about how public money is to be distributed.
“The events that occurred in recent days show how important it is to access information that the authoritarian authorities have cut off from their citizens,” he added.
In his opinion, the three members of the organization’s board of directors bear the same responsibility, since “it is impossible to rationally suppose that the head of the organization did not have any knowledge of the subject.”
“The defendants are proud and convinced of their impunity, corrupted by the power they wield,” attorney Kuczynski said. “For this reason, from the point of view of prevention, the imposition of such a punishment would be a clear indication that the person exercising the power is responsible. The higher he is in the hierarchy of power, the greater” – values.
The defense noted that Lux Veritatis responded to the media’s request to the extent possible. As confirmed, Watchdog’s order was the first I received – the defendants were unaware that a response to it was mandatory, and they had no experience dealing with such cases.
Advocates for Lux Veritatis Board Members: We Know Our Clients Are Innocent
“We know that our clients are innocent,” – confirmed Father Rydzyk’s lawyer, Maciej Zaborovsky. In his opinion, the aim of the trial is not to increase access to public information, but to “use criminal law in a way that is beneficial to infringe the personal rights of its owners.” As he said, simply filing an indictment is stigmatizing the people covered by it.
The lawyer also argued that the Monitoring Society is not the aggrieved party in this case (and this is the basis of the indictment) – so he first applied for a stay of proceedings, and only then asked for his client’s acquittal.
Defender Father Jan Kroll, lawyer Marcin Chudkovsky, on the prosecutor’s reference to the ruling on the officer’s breach of duties. In his opinion, this was done only to threaten the management of the enterprise with imprisonment for 10 years – which indicates a serious crime. As he argued, it is a matter of “constructing an absurd narrative and demanding an absurd punishment.” According to the lawyer, none of the accused could ever be considered a public servant.
“This indictment is not a hoax, but a scandal. It is a deliberate and calculated action against the accused, and what’s more, it also applies to the District Court,” said Lydia Kochanovic-Mike, attorney at law Bowie Banick. He pointed out the flaws in the indictment, stressing that she should never be sued. In his opinion, the whole thing is a “deliberate game” about “destroying the authority of the accused.” “This is a set of insults. It is the basis for making baseless accusations and even defamation,” he said.
Kochanowicz-Mańk – who, according to witness testimonies, was responsible for accessing the institution’s public information – was the only defendant to take the floor on Thursday. “In fact, I have not seen (…) a single evidence that can confirm what you are accusing me of,” she asserted, addressing representatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
As I explained, it did everything in its power to respond comprehensively to their request, however, providing a complete answer would require such forces and resources to be involved so that it would simply be “physically impossible.”
The prosecution wanted a verdict of innocence
The Prosecutor’s Office requested the acquittal of the three defendants, arguing, inter alia, that there was no evidence to suggest the responsibility of Father Kroll and Father Rydzyk, and in the case of Lydia Kochanovic-Mike, no evidence that their actions were premeditated.
In the indictment against the Foundation’s Board of Directors, Art. 23 of the Public Information Access Act, according to which, if a person, contrary to his obligation, does not disclose public information, he is subject to a fine, the penalty of restriction of liberty or the penalty of deprivation of liberty for a period of up to one year. At the same time, this provision was related to the provisions of the Penal Code, which indicate the failure of a public official to fulfill his obligations, which is punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years.