‘This is intimidation of the opposition.’ Scheuring-Wielgus MP is being prosecuted by Judge Piebiak

Share

OKO.press political journalist.

More

‘We have entered a very bloody year, a campaign year, there will be no holds barred,’ Joanna Scheuring-Wielgus says. This time, Ziobro’s former ‘chief of staff’ wants to deprive her of her immunity. She called Łukasz Piebiak the ‘head of a set-up’ who was looking for dirt on judges and prosecutors



This is the third motion to strip Left Party MP Joanna Scheuring-Wielgus of her immunity. She has already been deprived of her protection in two cases. And, in one of them, charges of insulting religious feelings have even been pressed; the indictment was filed with a court in Toruń just before Christmas – on 22 December.

 

This time, it is about allegedly insulting Łukasz Piebiak, a former deputy minister of justice.

 

Piebiak’s motion to lift the MP’s immunity had been lying in the drawers of the Sejm’s Regulation Committee for over two years. It was unexpectedly pulled out by the committee chairman and will be considered on 10 January 2023. ‘I don’t know why they have woken up on this matter now,’ Scheuring-Wielgus tells us.

 

It is about her statement of 15 July 2020. She was justifying her support for the motion of no confidence of Minister Zbigniew Ziobro on behalf of the Left Club. She then turned to him and said: ‘It was your deputy minister Piebiak who was the head of a set-up intended to find dirt on judges and prosecutors’.

 

Two months later, Piebiak filed a private indictment against her. He claims the MP had ‘falsely slandered’ him and accused her of defamation under Article 212 of the Penal Code. She will be facing a ‘fine, the restriction of freedom or imprisonment for up to a year.’

 

‘This is intimidation of all of us from the opposition’

 

‘There is some demand for me from the Ministry of Justice,’ believes Scheuring-Wielgus.

 

Charges of insulting feelings and malicious obstruction of religious worship have already been pressed against the MP. The case is being handled ex officioshe was charged by the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Toruń. The prosecutor’s office was outraged that, during the women’s protests in the autumn of 2020, Scheuring-Wielgus went to the church where she had got married and, together with her husband, stood there for a minute with a sign stating: ‘Woman, you can decide for yourself.’ She is facing up to two years imprisonment for that.

Joanna Scheuring-Wielgus i Piotr Wielgus

 

She is facing a restriction of freedom or a fine for her involvement in the ‘Baby Shoes Remember’ campaign in 2018. She was protesting then against the cover-up of paedophilia by the church. She hung baby shoes on the gate of the St. Johns’ Cathedral in Toruń – as did many others that day. She is being prosecuted by the police chief in that case.

 

In both cases, the PiS parliamentary majority voted to strip her of her legal protection.

 

‘I’m a pawn,’ believes Scheuring-Wielgus. ‘This is all for show. About showing the opposition politicians and others who oppose this authority: look and see what will happen. These are unpleasant situations for people who have not encountered this.’

 

‘This is intimidation of all of us from the opposition. We have entered a very bloody year, a campaign year, there will be no holds barred. For Ziobro, the conviction of an opposition MP would be a demonstration that he is the sheriff, he would show strength, causality,’ assesses Scheuring-Wielgus.

 

According to Article 99 of the Constitution, nobody convicted ‘with a final sentence of imprisonment for an intentional crime prosecuted by public indictment’ can be elected to the Sejm or the Senate.

 

Piebiak instructed ‘smashing a caste-member’ and the deputy minister’s other merits

 

Who is Łukasz Piebiak, about whom Scheuring-Wielgus said he was the ‘head of a set-up’ looking for ‘dirt on judges and prosecutors’?

 

At the Ministry of Justice, he was Zbigniew Ziobro’s deputy (from November 2015 to August 2019), responsible for the judiciary. The media referred to him as ‘chief of staff’ during the mass replacement of judges in 2017 and 2018.

 

He actively collaborated with online hater and later whistleblower Emilia Szmydt (she used the nickname Little Emi on Twitter) in a smear campaign against judges opposing the changes being implemented by PiS.

 

Onet portal revealed this in August 2019. He was frequently referred to as the ‘ringleader’ of that group. Piebiak resigned after Onet revealed the existence of a troll farm in the Ministry of Justice.

 

In April 2022, OKO.press and Onet disclosed evidence ‘that the former deputy minister had not only coordinated the hate campaign against judges, but had gone further. He revealed internal official ministry documents, namely personal information on judges, to which only the ministry’s management, its personnel services or – by way of exception – the chief disciplinary commissioners (appointed by Minister Ziobro) should have access, to outsiders.’

 

‘Smash some caste member,’ wrote Piebiak on 25 October 2018 in the Antykasta [Eng.: Anti-caste] group to deputy disciplinary commissioner Michal Lasota.

 

Members of the Antykasta group on WhatsApp referred to judges opposing the changes being introduced by PiS to the judiciary as ‘kaściak’ [Eng.: caste member].

 

Today, Piebiak is working at the Justice Institute, which is subordinated to the Ministry of Justice. He also became a judge of the Supreme Administrative Court nominated by the neo-NCJ.

 

‘She may have jeopardised the confidence needed to hold the office of judge’

 

‘I accuse Joanna Izabela Scheuring-Wielgus, née Bąkowska, of publicly falsely slandering Judge Łukasz Konrad Piebiak on 15 July 2020 in Warsaw from the rostrum of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland, simultaneously doing this via the mass media,’ wrote Piebiak in a private indictment filed on 8 September 2020 with the District Court for Warsaw-Śródmieście.

 

What did Scheuring-Wielgus ‘falsely slander’ him about?

 

‘About the fact that, while holding the position of Deputy Minister of Justice, he was the head of a set-up whose objective was to find dirt on judges and prosecutors, i.e. such conduct that could humiliate him in public or expose him to a loss of the trust needed to hold the office of a judge – i.e. a crime from Article 212 item 2 of the Penal Code,’ reads Piebiak’s indictment.

 

He then also submitted a motion to the Sejm to lift the MP’s immunity and justified it as follows:

 

‘According to the applicant, this action satisfies the premises of the crime specified in Article 212 of the Penal Code, because the good name is protected by this provision against the offence of defamation, while everyone is entitled to protection of their good name, regardless of their reputation’.

 

What exactly did Scheuring-Wielgus say? She addressed Zbigniew Ziobro from the parliamentary rostrum:

 

‘Another sin, personnel. You put your colleagues wherever you want, in prominent positions in courts throughout the country, and you try to degrade, demote, transfer and intimidate those who are independent. You have also obviously taken care of your wife and your brother. You are also the main actor in the dismantling of the rule of law, pitting the public against the judges and calling them a privileged caste. (…) It was your deputy minister Piebiak who was the head of a set-up intended to find dirt on judges and prosecutors. It’s your man, [MP Dariusz] Matecki, who is running dozens of pages posting racist content.’

 

The debate in the committee on lifting the MP’s immunity will be held on 10 January. While the vote – almost certainly at a session – will be held on 11–13 January.

 

That same day, the committee will consider the Regional Prosecutor’s request for permission to prosecute Civic Platform MP Sławomir Nitras. The PiS majority has already lifted his immunity once, in April 2022. For what? Nitras pointed out that a former activist of the Kukiz’15 movement was walking around the Sejm wearing a T-shirt with racist inscriptions.

 

The article was published in Polish at OKO.press on 4th January 2023.



Author


OKO.press political journalist.


More

Published

January 13, 2023

Tags

Supreme CourtConstitutional TribunalDisciplinary ChamberPolandjudgesdisciplinary proceedingsrule of lawZbigniew ZiobroNational Council of the JudiciaryCourt of Justice of the EUjudicial independenceEuropean CommissionEuropean UnionAndrzej DudaMałgorzata ManowskaCourt of JusticeEuropean Court of Human RightsMinister of JusticeIgor Tuleyadisciplinary systemAdam Bodnarmuzzle lawJarosław KaczyńskiNational Recovery PlanCJEUMateusz MorawieckiCommissioner for Human Rightsneo-judgesCourt of Justice of the European UniondemocracyPrzemysław RadzikWaldemar ŻurekNational Council for Judiciarypresidential electionselectionselections 2023disciplinary commissionercriminal lawJulia PrzyłębskaPiotr SchabKamil Zaradkiewiczmedia freedomharassmentpreliminary rulingsHungarySupreme Administrative Courtelections 2020K 3/21Dagmara Pawełczyk-WoickajudiciaryFirst President of the Supreme CourtŁukasz PiebiakprosecutorsPresidentRecovery FundBeata MorawiecPaweł JuszczyszynProsecutor GeneralMichał Lasotafreedom of expressionMaciej NawackiEuropean Arrest WarrantSejmprosecutionCOVID-19Regional Court in KrakówCriminal ChamberNational ProsecutorConstitutionPrime MinisterMinistry of JusticecourtsMałgorzata GersdorfMarek SafjanEU budgetdisciplinary liability for judgesMaciej FerekOSCEWojciech HermelińskiExtraordinary Control and Public Affairs ChamberIustitiacriminal proceedingsWłodzimierz WróbelVenice Commissionconditionality mechanismAleksander StepkowskiTHEMISLabour and Social Security ChamberStanisław BiernatPiScommission on Russian influenceStanisław PiotrowiczPresident of the Republic of PolandNCJimmunityconditionalityAnna DalkowskaJustice FundcorruptionLaw and JusticeNational Public ProsecutorCouncil of Europefreedom of assemblyKrystian MarkiewiczreformsReczkowicz and Others v. PolandKrzysztof Parchimowiczacting first president of the Supreme Court2017policeSenateAndrzej Zollmedia independenceSLAPPdefamationStrategic Lawsuits Against Public ParticipationLGBTJustice Defence Committee – KOSEwa ŁętowskaDidier ReyndersFreedom HouseAmsterdam District CourtMay 10 2020 electionsXero Flor w Polsce Sp. z o.o. v. PolandOrdo IurisPresident of PolandAndrzej StępkaBroda and Bojara v PolandSylwia Gregorczyk-AbramPiotr GąciarekJarosław WyrembakPM Mateusz MorawieckiArticle 7Next Generation EUConstitutional Tribunal PresidentUrsula von der LeyenLex DudaTVPmediaLex Super OmniaProfessional Liability ChamberreformJarosław DudziczK 7/21National Reconstruction PlansuspensionparliamentChamber of Professional LiabilityEAWArticle 6 ECHRP 7/20Supreme Court PresidentLech GarlickiMichał WawrykiewiczabortionPiotr PrusinowskiNational Electoral Commissionelectoral codeJanusz NiemcewiczTeresa Dębowska-RomanowskaStanisław RymarMałgorzata Pyziak- SzafnickaKazimierz DziałochaBogdan ŚwięczkowskiNetherlandsAndrzej MączyńskiMarek MazurkiewiczvetoStefan JaworskiMirosław GranatOLAFBiruta Lewaszkiewicz-PetrykowskaViktor OrbanJózef IwulskiMaciej MiteraSLAPPsjudcial independenceWojciech ŁączkowskiAdam JamrózPATFoxFerdynand RymarzKonrad WytrykowskiRafał Puchalskismear campaignmilestonesKrakówMarzanna Piekarska-Drążekstate of emergencyUkraineelectoral processBelaruscourt presidentsAdam SynakiewiczXero Flor v. PolandAstradsson v Icelandright to fair trialEdyta BarańskaJoanna Hetnarowicz-SikoraCentral Anti-Corruption BureauJakub IwaniecsurveillancePegasusDariusz DrajewiczJoanna Misztal-KoneckaCivil ChamberK 6/21Wojciech MaczugaSzymon Szynkowski vel SękDariusz ZawistowskiOKO.presselections integrityelections fairnessMarek ZubikBohdan ZdziennickiMirosław WyrzykowskiSławomira Wronkowska-JaśkiewiczPiotr TulejaJerzy StępieńAndrzej RzeplińskitransparencyMariusz KamińskiMaciej Taborowskiinsulting religious feelingsPaweł Filipekpublic mediaMariusz MuszyńskiKrystyna PawłowiczlexTuskcourt changesMarek PietruszyńskiMichał LaskowskiSupreme Audit Officeabuse of state resourcesLaw on the NCJEuropean ParliamentJarosław GowincoronavirusRussiaZuzanna Rudzińska-BluszczFree Courts11 January March in WarsawCCBEPiebiak gatehuman rightsrecommendationC-791/19Human Rights CommissionerMarcin WarchołLGBT ideology free zonesreportEuropean Association of JudgesPiotr Pszczółkowskiretirement agedecommunizationGeneral Assembly of the Supreme Court Judgesintimidation of dissentersdemocratic backslidingpublic opinion pollZiobroEU law primacyMarian BanaśThe Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europecriminal codeBelgiumlex NGOEwa Wrzosekcivil societytransferAdam Tomczyńskimedia pluralismBohdan Bieniek#RecoveryFilesFrans TimmermansLIBE Committeerepairing the rule of lawUS Department of StateMarcin KrajewskiKarolina Miklaszewska2018NGOFull-Scale Election Observation MissionODIHRNations in TransitStanisław ZabłockiPetros TovmasyanJerzy KwaśniewskiPiotr MazurekGrzegorz PudaNational Recovery Plan Monitoring CommitteeWiesław KozielewiczChamber of Extraordinary Control and Public AffairsMałgorzata Dobiecka-WoźniakCouncil of the EURafał LisakMichał DworczykWojciech Sadurskidefamatory statementsRome StatuteInternational Criminal CourtC-619/18Rights and Values Programmejudgepress releaseAntykastalex WoślegislationCourt of Appeal in KrakówPutinismKaczyńskiPaulina AslanowiczJarosław MatrasMałgorzata Wąsek-Wiaderekct on the Protection of the PopulatioWorld Justice Project awardStanisław ZdunIrena BochniakKrystyna Morawa-FryźlewiczŁukasz BilińskiIvan MischenkoJoanna Kołodziej-MichałowiczMonika FrąckowiakArkadiusz CichockiEmilia SzmydtTomasz SzmydtE-mail scandalAndrzej SkowronKasta/AntykastaKatarzyna Chmuraadvocate generalGrzegorz FurmankiewiczMarek JaskulskiEwa ŁąpińskaZbigniew ŁupinaPaweł StyrnaSwieczkowskiDworczyk leaksMałgorzata FroncHater ScandalAleksandra RutkowskaGeneral Court of the EUArkadiusz RadwanLech WałęsaWałęsa v. Polandright to an independent and impartial tribunal established by lawpilot-judgmentDonald Tusk governmentRafał WojciechowskiDobrochna Bach-Goleckalex RaczkowskiPiotr Raczkowskithe Spy ActdisinformationCT Presidentfundamental rightsNational Broadcasting Councilelection fairnessequal treatmentcivil lawMarcin MatczakDariusz KornelukNational School of Judiciary and Public Prosecution (KSSiP)codification commissiondelegationsWatchdog PolskaDariusz BarskiLasotapopulismState TribunalRadosław BaszukAction PlanJustice MinistryVěra JourováDonald Tuskjustice system reformAnti-SLAPP Directiveinsultgag lawsuitsstrategic investmentinvestmentlustrationJakub KwiecińskidiscriminationAct on the Supreme Courtelectoral commissionsEuropean Court of HuKrzysztof RączkaPoznańTomasz Koszewskitest of independenceSebastian MazurekElżbieta Jabłońska-MalikJoanna Scheuring-WielgusoppositionThe National Centre for Research and DevelopmentAdam Gendźwiłłtransitional justiceDariusz DończykKoan LenaertsKarol WeitzZbigniew KapińskiAnna GłowackaCourt of Appeal in WarsawOsiatyński'a ArchiveEUUS State DepartmentAssessment Actenvironmentextraordinary commissionWhite PaperKaspryszyn v PolandNCR&DNCBiREuropean Anti-Fraud Office OLAFJustyna WydrzyńskaAgnieszka Brygidyr-DoroszJoanna KnobelCrimes of espionageJędrzej Dessoulavy-ŚliwińskiMarek Piertuszyńskihate speechhate crimesmedia taxadvertising taxmediabezwyboruJacek KurskiKESMAIndex.huGrzęda v PolandŻurek v PolandPrzemysław CzarnekJacek CzaputowiczMarcin RomanowskiElżbieta KarskaPrzemysła Radzikmedia lawRafał TrzaskowskiSobczyńska and Others v PolandTelex.huJelenForum shoppingFirst President of the Suprme CourtEuropean Economic and Social CommitteeSebastian KaletaOrganization of Security and Co-operation in EuropeC-156/21C-157/21foreign agents lawArticle 2Rome IIJózsef SzájerChamber of Extraordinary VerificationKlubrádióequalityGazeta WyborczaLGBT free zonesPollitykaBrussels Ilegislative practiceENAZbigniew BoniekAK judgmentautocratizationMultiannual Financial FrameworkOpenbaar MinisterieRegional Court in Amsterdamabortion rulingArticle 10 ECHRprotestsinterim measuresLeszek MazurIrena MajcherAmsterdamLMmutual trustthe Regional Court in Warsawpublic broadcasterUnited NationsForum Współpracy Sędziówthe NetherlandsDenmarkact on misdemeanoursCivil Service ActParliamentary Assembly of the Council of EuropeNorwegian Ministry of Foreign AffairsNorwegian fundsNorwayKraśnikOmbudsmanKarlsruheAusl 301 AR 104/19SwedenFinlandMariusz KrasońC-487/19GermanyCelmerC354/20 PPUC412/20 PPUIrelandMarek AstLSOright to protestSławomir JęksaWiktor JoachimkowskiRoman Giertychtrans-Atlantic valuesMichał WośMinistry of FinancelawyersMirosław Wróblewskirepressive actborderprimacyEU treatiesAgnieszka Niklas-BibikSłupsk Regional CourtMaciej RutkiewiczAct of 20 December 2019Amnesty InternationalJacek SasinEvgeni TanchevKochenovPechPaulina Kieszkowska-KnapikMaria Ejchart-DuboisAgreement for the Rule of LawPorozumienie dla PraworządnościAct sanitising the judiciaryFreedom in the WorldECJErnest BejdaThe First President of the Supreme CourtMaciej CzajkaMariusz JałoszewskiŁukasz RadkepolexitFrackowiakDolińska-Ficek and Ozimek v PolandRzeszówKoen LenaertsharrassmentOlimpia Barańska-Małuszeinfringment actionHudocPKWKonrad SzymańskiPiotr BogdanowiczPiotr BurasLeon KieresIpsosEU valuesNational Prosecutor’s OfficeBogdan ŚwiączkowskiDisicplinary ChamberTribunal of StateOlsztyn courtPrzemysła CzarnekEducation MinisterENCJauthoritarian equilibriumArticle 258postal voteTVNjournalistslexTVNEwa MaciejewskaGerard BirgfellerPolish mediaAlina CzubieniakSimpson judgmentpostal vote billclientelismoligarchic systemEuropean Public Prosecutor's Officeresolution of 23 January 2020Polish National FoundationLux VeritatisMałgorzata BednarekPiotr WawrzykIsrael