A trial to order the spilling of acid on a neighbor has not started before the District Court for Warsaw-Praga. The incident took place in March 2014. The hearing was adjourned because the investigating prosecutor is suspected of accepting a bribe from one of the suspects.
The decision of the Warsaw-Praga District Court is related to the circumstances that were revealed after the indictment was filed.
The investigation into the murder of a 75-year-old woman in a tenement house on Jagiellońska Street was conducted in 2014-2019 by prosecutor Andrzej Z. from the District Prosecutor’s Office for Warszawa Praga-Północ. In February last year, they were detained in connection with this case, three suspects. Maciej M. – according to the investigators, the person who ordered the murder of the neighbor, Piotr G., who was to pour acid on the woman, and Adam J. – was to be responsible for the transport of the perpetrator and help in finding the victim’s whereabouts. The latter was released from custody in June 2019 after paying 100,000 zlotys of bail.
Soon after, the case was taken from prosecutor Andrzej Z. and transferred to the District Prosecutor’s Office in Warsaw, i.e. outside the Prague district. In the meantime, proceedings were underway at the Internal Affairs Department of the National Public Prosecutor’s Office concerning the receipt of financial benefits by Andrzej Z. and the obstruction of his investigation. According to the investigators, the accusations to be heard by the prosecutor concern, inter alia, accepting a million zlotys in bribes from Adam J. In early June, J. was arrested.
“In the investigation conducted by the Internal Affairs Department of the National Prosecutor’s Office, Adam J. and his concubine were charged with granting financial benefits to a public official. By the decision of the Court, the suspects were temporarily arrested,” the National Prosecutor’s Office reported.
On June 30, the Supreme Court gave consent to waive the immunity of prosecutor Z. – The Supreme Court agreed to the temporary arrest of Andrzej Z. in connection with the suspicion of exceeding his powers and failing to fulfill obligations related to the acceptance of financial or personal benefits and obstruction of the investigation in the case. Therefore, the case against Andrzej Z. is inextricably linked with this case. (…) This may affect the responsibility of the defendants – said judge Małgorzata Młodawska-Piaseczna, who on Thursday was to hear the case of the murder ordered by Maciej M.
The court recalled that the evidence of the indictment was based on circumstantial evidence, and Karolina K. – the main witness in this case – was dead.
– This rules out the possibility of a direct questioning of her at the hearing. (…) It is necessary to subject the material collected in this case to a criminal law analysis. (…) The lack of such an assessment may preclude making correct and truthful findings – added the judge.
Doubts about the prosecutor’s reliability at the pre-trial stage were not the only ones raised in the courtroom on Thursday.
– Prosecutor Andrzej Z. is also a prosecutor who has appeared before the court many times, also before the current composition. In this case, it will most likely be necessary to hear him as a witness. There are doubts as to whether this will not take away the court’s freedom to adjudicate, or whether it does not affect the impartiality of the court in the opinion of the public – said judge Małgorzata Młodawska-Piaseczna.
The court found out about the case from the “mass media”
The judge added that the court did not find out directly about the suspicions related to prosecutor Andrzej Z. from the source.
– We know it from the common means of mass communication (…). The court asked the National Prosecutor’s Office for information, but all phone calls and e-mails remained unanswered. We have no information as to whether Andrzej Z. has been charged. We do not know anything – the president of the bench added.
After a two-hour break, the court decided on Thursday to ask the Supreme Court to transfer the case to another court. The basis was Article 37 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which states that a case may be referred if it is in the “interest of justice”.
The National Prosecutor’s Office informed that the charges were not presented to Andrzej Z., the action will be carried out after the decision of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court becomes final, i.e. after the prosecutor’s immunity is lifted. Spokesman for the Disciplinary Chamber, Piotr Falkowski, said that the Supreme Court had not received a complaint against the resolution, but that Andrzej Z.’s time to file it had not yet expired.
Contract to kill a neighbor
The trial, which was to begin on July 30, before the Warsaw-Praga District Court, applies to the event of March 24, 2014. According to the prosecutor’s office, Maciej M. ordered the murder of a neighbor with whom he was in conflict. The order was to be accepted by Piotr G. At the indicated date, he stopped the elevator the victim was supposed to move and poured sulfuric acid over it. The perpetrator fled the building, which was recorded on monitoring. The camera also captured the moment when 75-year-old Anna O. was poured with a corrosive substance. Piotr G. was on a one-day leave from prison that day.
The prosecutor’s office informed that Anna O. was a victim of an attack, because she was soon to testify as a witness in the case against Maciej M. The man was accused of making criminal threats against another neighbor, Magdalena G. However, the final findings of the investigators show that Magdalena G. was to be Maciej M.’s victim, and the acid dousing of Anna O., and then her death, were the result of a mistake.
The mistake was chosen as a result of a coincidence. From January to March 2014, Magdalena G. went for walks with her neighbor’s dog at regular times. Anna O. used the help because she had a broken arm. On March 24, 2014, for the first time in weeks, she decided to go for a walk with her dog on her own, which Piotr G. did not know. Anna O. died in May 2014. The autopsy shows that her death was a result of complications following a burn of the respiratory tract with sulfuric acid.
The accused were detained five years after the murder. They were linked to the case thanks to Adam J., who boasted about his partner, Karolina K., who participated in the 2014 crime. He described the course of the event and the people who were involved in it. The woman gave this information to her mother, and also notified the police. The truth of Karolina K.’s testimony was confirmed during the polygraph test. The woman was included in the witness protection program. She died shortly after the indictment was brought to the court.