Indication of duty judges who also work on public holidays and outside court hours, designation of additional courts to hear motions for arrest in a situation where the local court is not able to do it on time – these are the decisions of the President of the District Court in Warsaw Joanna Bitner which – as he writes – are related to the “high probability” of the need to consider motions for pre-trial detention “in an amount exceeding the usual possibilities of the locally competent court”. It takes place during mass social protests after the Constitutional Court’s decision on abortion.
For a week now, there have been protests of people opposing such a ruling by the Tribunal on the streets of many Polish cities and towns. They gather tens of thousands of people, and according to the applicable restrictions, public assemblies must be limited to five people.
Due to the fact that, due to epidemic restrictions, gathering more than five people is illegal, the police have made many arrests over the last week.
Actions “aimed at increasing the recognition possibilities”
On Wednesday, the President of the District Court in Warsaw, Joanna Bitner, issued an order “in connection with the high probability of the need to consider applications for the application of preventive measures in the form of pre-trial detention and cases in accelerated penal and misdemeanor proceedings in an amount exceeding the usual capacity of the local court”. However, she did not explicitly indicate that they were related to the detentions during protests following the decision of the Constitutional Tribunal.
President Bitner orders the presidents of district courts operating in the District Court in Warsaw to take “actions aimed at increasing the possibility for courts to recognize” increased influence “of motions for the application of preventive measures in the form of pre-trial detention, complaints on detention and cases in accelerated criminal and criminal proceedings and offense in the period from October 30, 2020. until November 14, 2020
“Strengthening the staffing of duty judges”
As the president of the Warsaw Regional Court points out, in order to increase the possibilities of the courts to act in this respect, there should be more duty judges who would therefore work on public holidays and outside court hours.
“should take place by strengthening the staffing of duty judges appointed to hear applications for the application of preventive measures in the form of pre-trial detention, complaints about detention and cases in accelerated penal and petty offense proceedings on non-working days and during periods beyond the court’s office hours, and ensuring that the most complete staffing of judges from criminal divisions in the office of the courts.
The president establishes a list of substitute courts in a situation where the local court, due to the number of cases, will not be able to hear them on time
In addition, President Bitner introduces in the period from October 30 to November 14 a list of district courts operating in the district of the District Court in Warsaw, which would deal with motions for temporary arrest in a situation where the court with local jurisdiction, due to the number of cases, will not be in able to recognize them within the statutory period. He lists eight items here, they are: the District Court for Warszawa-Śródmieście in Warsaw, the District Court for the Capital City of Warszawa in Warsaw, District Court for Warszawa-Wola in Warsaw, District Court for Warszawa-Żoliborz in Warsaw, District Court for Warszawa-Mokotów in Warsaw, District Court in Pruszków, District Court in Grodzisk Mazowiecki, District Court in Piaseczno.
I introduce the following order of district courts operating in the district of the District Court in Warsaw for examining applications for the application of preventive measures in the form of temporary arrest in the event that the court having jurisdiction over the place, due to the number of these cases, will not be able to hear them within the statutory time limit.
As the President of the Court of Justice in Warsaw added, the referral of applications for the application of pre-trial detention to one of the courts mentioned by her may take place when “due to the number of cases assigned to be examined, such a request will not be able to be examined by any of the judges in a given district court. “.
When such a situation occurs, the president of the competent district court or a judge authorized by him must “immediately” notify the person appointed to coordinate the allocation of cases between the district courts. The latter, in turn, is to notify “the competent prosecutor’s office authorities and the president of the district court designated to examine the application next”.
Main photo source: tvn24