Pro bono: Blogger from Mosina ultimately cleared

20.04.2021

The Supreme Court of Poland has upheld the judgment of the Poznań Court of Appeal acquitting the “blogger from Mosina” of criminal libel. The case was reopened based on a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights. The Supreme Court judgment is legally final.

Starting in 2008, Łukasz Kasprowicz published a blog in which he criticised the actions of Mosina’s mayor, Zofia Springer. The mayor accused him of criminal libel (Art. 212 of the Criminal Code). In 2011 the District Court for Poznań–Stare Miasto convicted Kasprowicz and sentenced him to 10 months of unpaid labour, exemplary damages of PLN 500, a one-year ban on practising the profession of journalist, and an apology. The judgment was overturned by the Poznań Regional Court, which discontinued the case due to the negligible societal harm of the offence. But the Supreme Court of Poland granted cassation appeals by the accuser’s counsel and twice remanded the case for reconsideration. Finally, in 2014 the Poznań Regional Court discontinued the proceeding conditionally for one year and ordered Kasprowicz to pay a fine to the Victim Support and Post-Penitentiary Aid Fund.

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights filed a complaint against this decision with the European Court of Human Rights, alleging infringement of Art. 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (freedom of expression). In 2020, after the Polish government admitted to an infringement of the freedom of expression and promised to pay Kasprowicz compensation of EUR 3,000, the ECtHR removed the case from its docket.

With support from our law firm, the national proceedings were reopened, and in September 2020 the Poznań Court of Appeal acquitted Kasprowicz. Counsel for the private accuser then sought review of that judgment by the Supreme Court.

On 16 April 2021 the Supreme Court decided to uphold the judgment of the lower court. Thus 10 years after the original conviction by the court of first instance, the blogger from Mosina was exonerated with legal finality.

The lawyers at our firm involved in the case were Artur Pietryka, Łukasz Lasek and Aleksandra Połatyńska.

More information on the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights website