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Asking for alimony “does not constitute harassment.” The Supreme Court upholds the Ombudsman’s cassation appeal in a woman’s case

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The Supreme Court upheld the cassation appeal of the Human Rights Defender in the case of the sentence heard by a woman convicted of harassing her husband. “When assessing the behavior of the accused, it cannot be ignored that she and the victim were married in the course of the divorce case, parents of three minor children cared for by their mother,” the Commissioner for Human Rights said.

The Office of the Human Rights Defender informed about the recent ruling of the Supreme Court on Tuesday. The case concerned the judgment of the Zielona Góra District Court in 2018, in which a woman was convicted of harassing her husband, with whom she was divorced, restriction of freedom in the form of community service. The sentence was issued in a prescriptive manner – without a hearing.


Asking for child support “does not constitute harassment”

The Ombudsman for Human Rights filed a cassation appeal against the judgment last summer. As he pointed out, the court may adjudicate under the injunction procedure only when the circumstances of the act and guilt of the accused raise no doubts. “This was not the case. The woman admitted to the allegations, but reading her testimony shows that she simply contacted her husband about the children, household bills and alimony. And this does not exhaust the signs of harassment” – the spokesman wrote in August 2020.

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Ombudsman: asking for alimony “does not exhaust the features of harassment”Salas / PAP / EPA

As he reported, the woman caring for the children called her husband, sent him text messages and asked for alimony. The man considered this harassment and brought the case to court. On the other hand, the district court issued a verdict on the basis of the report of questioning the woman and printouts of SMS fragments.

Meanwhile, these printouts – as the Commissioner for Human Rights argued – were also ambiguous and there were questions as to whether it was not “just a trace of contact between divorcing spouses in order to settle unfinished past and current matters, which undoubtedly occur between the parents of their joint children”.

The Supreme Court upholds the cassation of the Commissioner

At the end of April, the arguments for the cassation appeal were shared by the Supreme Court. He pointed out that the accused woman admittedly “verbally admitted to the alleged offense, but the explanations she provided show that in fact she only admitted to the behavior of making phone calls and sending text messages to the victim due to difficulties in obtaining maintenance from him.” “.

Ombudsman Adam BodnarRafał Guz / PAP

“When assessing the behavior of the accused, it cannot be ignored that she and the victim were married in the course of the divorce case, parents of three minor children cared for by their mother. From the residual content of the text messages it can be concluded that they mostly concern issues related to upbringing and care. over children, everyday problems, financial issues, which in detail, with the listing of individual messages, were shown in cassation, suggesting that they are not so much evidence of a crime committed by the accused, but of her contacts (…) initiated in order to settle matters that arise between parents of common minor children “- indicated the Supreme Court in the justification of the judgment quoted in the statement of the Office of the Human Rights Defender.

Therefore, as it was reported on the Ombudsman’s website, “the judgment under appeal was revoked and the case was referred for re-examination by the district court, which will refer it to a hearing and issue a final judgment after all relevant circumstances have been thoroughly explained.”

Main photo source: PAP / Mateusz Marek

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