‘I won’t let any of the caste members off the hook’. Dialogues of the ‘good change’ judges
‘A queer rainbow’, ‘perverts’ or ‘somehow, I stopped fu**ing caring’ – this is the atmosphere and language of the discussions between the supporters of the so-called good change, including Deputy Minister Łukasz Piebiak in the Antykasta [Anti-Caste] discussion group. We show how a member of the NCJ described the candidates for promotion before the Council as ‘my people’ without any inhibitions.
by Magdalena Gałczyńska and Mariusz Jałoszewski
- We reveal how the members of the NCJ talked freely about the recruitments and judicial promotions decided on by the new Council
- One of the court presidents from the Antykasta group explicitly thanked the members of the NCJ for choosing these rather than any other candidates for promotion. In the chat, he wrote: ‘you are Wonderful’.
- We also reveal how the deputy disciplinary commissioner for judges openly discussed the investigations and disciplinary proceedings they were handling with other participants of the chat
- ‘Somehow, I stopped fu**ing caring. I won’t let any of the caste members off the hook’, Deputy Disciplinary Commissioner Przemysław Radzik openly declared in the chat
- Since last week, Onet and OKO.press have been revealing new information about the activities of the so-called ‘good change’ judges gathered around Łukasz Piebiak, the former deputy minister of justice, in a joint investigation. Piebiak resigned after Onet revealed the so-called ‘hate scandal’ in August 2019
Onet’s and OKO.press’s investigation. We reveal what the dialogues looked like in the Antykasta discussion group (interchangeably referred to as Kasta [Caste] – ed.), where supporters of the changes in the courts introduced by the United Right group – mainly, but not only judges – were gathered around ‘ringleader’ Piebiak. We also show how the members of the current NCJ behaved in this environment. The same ones who are running for another term of office in the Council, and whom the parliamentary Justice Committee approved this evening.
Regarding the recruitments in the new Council. ‘Thank you to all the gentlemen of the NCJ. You are Wonderful’
Members of the Antykasta discussion group talked about the recruitments to the judicial positions being handled by the new NCJ. This is surprising because five members of the Council belonged to the group – so they should not discuss topics related to their activities in the Council with third parties. We describe these discussions, everywhere presenting the original spelling from the chat.
On 17 October 2018, the discussion in the group was about the recruitment to judicial positions in the Regional Court in Jelenia Góra. This is the court where Dariusz Kliś, a member of the Antykasta group, was then and still is the president.
It was precisely on 17 October 2018 that the new NCJ gave five judges nominations to this court. As it transpires, the Council’s decision may not have been accidental. This is because, at 5 pm, the president of the court in Jelenia Góra, Darisuz Kliś, wrote in Antykasta: ‘Thank you most kindly to all the gentlemen of the NCJ. Thank you very much. You are Wonderful. Bravo!!!’ (translation of the original text – ed.)
Konrad Wytrykowski, today a member of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court wrote back: ‘What a show it was’.
Nawacki asked: ‘What happened? Because I didn’t notice’.
Wytrykowski: ‘Nothing. Everything was planned.’
In response, Nawacki added an emoticon of a smiley and three emoticons of a clenched fist. While Piebiak sent an emoticon with three pairs of applauding hands.
In response, Notary Public Arkadiusz Nikiel wrote: ‘Everyone is thanking, but I’m not sure what for. Doesn’t matter.’
What this was about was explained by a member of the new NCJ, Jarosław Dudzicz: ‘Kliś’s Jelonka (Regional Court in Jelenia Góra, the president of which was Dariusz Kliś – ed.) was up before us today. And it went through as planned, albeit with some initial difficulties and confusion caused by some of our lovely female colleagues’.
Kliś wrote back: ‘All five (candidates – ed.) went through, unless Chojnacka stirs something up, they are ours from today. They gut (got – ed.) something they could only dream of’.
‘My people’. Nawacki about the candidates for promotion before the NCJ
Several days earlier, on 14 October 2018, some of the participants of the Antykasta group complained they had trouble sleeping because of the tense situation in the judiciary. At 11.42 a.m., Maciej Nawacki, a member of the new NCJ and president of the District Court in Olsztyn, joined the discussion: ‘I can’t sleep either after the way they destroyed both my people and random people.’
‘Who?’ asked Jakub Iwaniec, then on secondment to the Ministry of Justice.
Nawacki: ‘From me, Prof. Przemek Palka who is running for the district court in Szczytno. He got 71 votes against and 2 for. Prosecutor Adam Jaroczyński, a lecturer at Kssip (the National School of the Judiciary and Public Prosecution, which is subordinated to the Ministry of Justice – ed.) to the Regional Court, 67 against 2 for. Tomek Koszewski was no surprise to me after the article in DGP’.
This alleged ‘destruction’, about which Nawacki wrote, applied, among other things, to the recruitment to the District Court in Szczytno, which the NCJ settled in January 2019. Before that, each of the candidates had to be assessed by the Assembly of Judges, consisting of representatives of the court to which the candidate was to be assigned. Professor Przemysław Palka, about whom Nawacki writes, received only two votes in favour in the Assembly’s assessment – as many as 71 people opposed his candidacy. Even so, the Council decided to recommend Professor Palka for promotion in January 2019.
Nawacki also mentioned Prosecutor Adam Jaroczyński. When assessing candidates for judicial promotions in January 2019, the NCJ handled a vacancy in the family division of the Olsztyn Regional Court, among other things. However, from among five candidates – including judges with many years of experience, supported by the community – the Council selected… a prosecutor from the District Prosecutor’s Office. It was precisely Adam Jaroczyński who was to be assigned to the Regional Court in Olsztyn, where he was to adjudicate in the family division. The NCJ decided to recommend Prosecutor Adam Jaroczyński for promotion to the Regional Court, regardless of the negative opinion of the community. This is not all – the NCJ also made this decision despite the opinion of the visiting judge who had assessed the candidate. According to the visiting judge, if Prosecutor Jaroczyński was to be assigned to a court, it would first need to be to a district court. And not to the family division, but to the criminal division.
Nawacki also wrote about Tomasz Koszewski in the chat. This judge from the District Court in Olsztyn – where Nawacki is president – was seconded to the Ministry of Justice on 18 June 2018. This happened even though this judge – as ‘Dziennik Gazeta Prawna’ reported in September 2018 – was in the middle of disciplinary proceedings being conducted against him at that time. This was to be about allegations of protraction in as many as 82 cases he had handled, non-compliance with the court president’s recommendations, and breaching the dignity of the judicial office. Koszewski became famous for being a staunch supporter of President Nawacki in the Olsztyn ‘region’. Ultimately, Koszewski was nominated by the NCJ to the office of judge of the Regional Court in Olsztyn – the president appointed him to the position in September 2021.
After Nawacki’s post in the Antykasta discussion group, Dariusz Kliś, president of the Regional Court in Jelenia Góra, made the reassurance: ‘Gentlemen, you need to calmly do your thing’.
Iwaniec supported him: ‘Calmly, calmly, but the NCJ already needs to have its arguments ready for such cases. “Why precisely him?” (..) The sooner and more frequently the NCJ talks about this the better. The assemblies need to be marginalised and ridiculed, saying “This isn’t a casting for Got Talent”, “It’s not a beauty contest”, etc. Strongly and to the point, so that the media picks up on it and this goes out into the world.’
Dariusz Drajewicz, a member of the NCJ, responded: ‘You do it in the media, because I say at every meeting during the assessments that the assembly’s assessment is only of social value’.
Then Nawacki wrote again: ‘I have already taken steps. I called the dean of the faculty and he boiled over. They are preparing a resolution for the faculty council’.
To which Konrad Wytrykowski, currently a member of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court, wrote: ‘And this is what it’s all about. Bravo Maciej.’
Promotion from the new NCJ for Deputy Disciplinary Commissioner Lasota. Radzik: ‘Brothers from the COUNCIL, thank you very much’.
The members of the Antykasta group also warmly welcomed Michał Lasota’s nomination, as he was recommended to the office of judge of the Regional Court in Elbląg by the new NCJ on 19 March 2019. At 3.06 pm, Rafal Puchalski wrote in the chat: ‘Congratulations’. Lasota responded with smilies. Other group members joined in with their congratulations. And Konrad Wytrykowski wrote ironically: ‘But unfortunately…you were probably elected by a non-existent body.
The point is that the status of the politically appointed new NCJ has been challenged by both the Polish Supreme Court and the most important European courts – the EU Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights.
Lasota replied: ‘Existing and how’. Second Deputy Disciplinary Commissioner Przemysław Radzik joined the discussion: ‘I have come home and from here, in fact from the bottom of my heart MICHAŁ, MATE, Congratulations! ‘And you, brothers from the COUNCIL, thank you very much’.
The dialogues of the judges gathered together in the Antykasta group – which, according to Judge Arkadiusz Cichocki, consisted of 24 lawyers, although not all of them were active participants of the discussions – also applied to the activities of deputy commissioners against, among others, judges known for their defence of the rule of law. We are presenting examples of such dialogues to show the climate of the judicial community gathered around Łukasz Piebiak.
Radzik prosecutes Judge Krupa – the judicial community is outraged. Iwaniec: ‘We’ll manage. The enemy is furious’
In October 2018, the discussants from Antykasta exchanged comments about Arkadiusz Krupa. He is a judge of the District Court in Łobez known for his satirical drawings about the justice system, which he posts on the blog named Ślepe Oko Temidy [English – Blind Eye of Themis]. Krupa is a member of the Iustitia association, which is critical of the changes introduced in the courts by the United Right group.
Deputy Disciplinary Commissioner Przemysław Radzik initiated an investigation against him in the autumn of 2018. He accused him of appearing in a judge’s robe and wearing a chain with an eagle during a simulation of a trial for young people at Jerzy Owsiak’s Pol’and’Rock festival. Radzik raised the accusation against Judge Krupa that the simulation of the trial was a parody.
Radzik posted a link on Antykasta to an article about this case in Onet on 24 October 2018, at 2.54 pm. Andrzej Skorwon, a judge working on secondment at the Ministry of Justice wrote: ‘He could have put on High Official Kilkujadek’s outfit, the idiot’. Jakub Iwaniec considered whether taking part in a simulation of a trial was an additional activity for which Krupa should have had permission from the court president. If so, he could be charged with another disciplinary charge.
Radzik responded: ‘Colleagues, I am really grateful to you for your good advice. Now I shall read the press. I will read what a d*ck I am, ect. And they are probably right, because why should I deal with bullshit when judges commit more serious offences. And if anyone has any doubts about this, I assure you that we shall prosecute them too’.
The Antykasta group returned to the discussion about Judge Krupa. At 10.47 pm, Radzik posted a link to an article in OKO.press on Krupa’s prosecution for taking part in the simulation of the trial. Deputy Minister Lukasz Piebiak responded: ‘Bullshit. Look after yourself, Przemek. Major changes come with a great deal of effort, but after some time no one will think of clowning around in official attire’.
Paweł Zwolak (a judge seconded to the Ministry of Justice – ed.) added: ‘This is a transitional period. The truth will prevail’. ‘Thank you very much’ – wrote back Radzik and added an emoticon of fists and crossed swords. And, after midnight, Jakub Iwaniec (also working in the ministry at the time – ed.) added: ‘We’ll manage. The enemy is becoming furious’.
Radzik: ‘somehow, I stopped fu**ing caring, I won’t let any of the caste members off the hook’.
As we showed above, the Antykasta group’s members discussed matters being handled by the deputy disciplinary commissioners of judges, Przemysław Radzik and Michał Lasota, without any inhibitions. One of the discussions applied to Judge Włodzimierz Brazewicz of the Court of Appeal in Gdańsk. He is known for his commitment to defending the rule of law and the legal education of young people. He was summoned for questioning as a witness by Deputy Disciplinary Commissioner Przemysław Radzik in October 2018. This was about a meeting between Judge Igor Tuleya and the citizens in Gdańsk – it was led by Judge Brazewicz. It was organised by the association of judges, Iustitia, and the Pomeranian legal counsels and attorneys-at-law. But, according to Radzik, the meeting could have been of a political nature, as it was attended, among others, by candidates standing for election in the local elections.
Tuleya and Brazewicz were questioned by the disciplinary commissioner early in November 2018. The attorneys of the judges were unable to take part in the hearing.
Przemysław Radzik wrote about Brazewicz’s summons for questioning on Antykasta at 4.40 pm on 26 October 2018. He posted this entry: ‘This tefauen likes me (ironically – ed.)’. Radzik refers to the material broadcast by TVN; it cannot be ruled out that it was about this case. He then posted another entry: ‘Brazewicz’s appearance is no accident. After all, he will visit us in the torture chamber on 6 November. They will have a pretext to drag out the topic….’.
The ‘torture chamber’ in question is – as the deputy disciplinary commissioners themselves called it on Antykasta – the office of the chief disciplinary commissioner, operating out of the NCJ office in Warsaw. Iwaniec reacted to Radzik’s entry by writing: ‘well. Commie’. Radzik: ‘Somehow, I stopped fu**ing caring. ‘I won’t let any of the caste members off the hook’.
Antykasta members on LGBT+ people. Piebiak: yuck, get lost with that queer rainbow
Members of the Antykasta discussion group also commented on current events, including the matter of non-heteronormative people. They simply mocked them. On 23 October 2018 at 8.59 pm Paweł Zwolak wrote in the chat: ‘It’s cool, that rainbow…’. He added a rainbow emoticon. This could have been a response to an earlier thread of the discussion.
‘Yuck, get lost with that queer rainbow,’ wrote Łukasz Piebiak.
‘You have to start out with the queer bit, it is now politically correct to call it a bicycle rainbow,’ responded Zwolak.
Przemysław Radzik joined the discussion: ‘Speaking of fags (most probably ‘faggots’ – ed.). There was a march of these pervs in zielona gora on Saturday. Those flags were still flying on Sunday. Yuck.’
Jarosław Dudzicz, a member of the new NCJ and president of the Regional Court in Gorzów Wielkopolski responded. He added four emoticons of vomiting faces and wrote; ‘Good thing there are still normal people in Zielona’.
There are more dialogues of this kind on Antykasta. We are only publishing a selection of these to show the climate of the community of judges gathered around Łukasz Piebiak at that time.
Background to the second stage of the hate scandal
In a joint investigation, Onet and OKO.press have been revealing new information since last week, among other things, about Łukasz Piebiak’s involvement in the campaign to discredit the judges who are critical of the changes being introduced into the judiciary by the government.
We also wrote about the Kasta/Antykasta group on WhatsApp, which, according to Judge Arkadiusz Cichocki, comprised 24 people. This included the then (in 2018 – ed.) Deputy Minister of Justice Łukasz Piebiak, Konrad Wytrykowski, a member of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court, and some members of the new National Council of the Judiciary. They were: Dariusz Drajewicz, Maciej Nawacki, Rafał Puchalski, Jarosław Dudzicz and Maciej Mitera (not very active in the group – ed.).
We revealed how Piebiak allegedly gave third parties access to internal, official Ministry of Justice documents, and also revealed a document from the Social Insurance Institution containing a judge’s sensitive data – including his home address and information about the state of his health.
We also showed how the deputy disciplinary commissioner of judges, Przemysław Radzik, ordered Emilia Szmydt – an internet hater of the time with whom Piebiak cooperated and later a whistleblower who helped expose the whole hate scandal – to ‘anonymously’ report Judge Waldemar Żurek.
We also published the confessions of judges who were deeply entrenched in the past within the good change camp, and who have now decided to reveal the irregularities and possible abuses that took place at that time.
The article was published in Polish on 26 April 2022 at Onet.pl and OKO.press.