Throughout most of the proceedings, Ziobro’s trusted prosecutor refused to make case files available to suspect Bartosz Kramek. Meanwhile, Patryk Jaki’s lawyer — Ziobro’s party colleague — had easy accessed them. However, according to lawyers, he should not have had them at all, as he was not a party to the case.
In 2019, Patryk Jaki — then-Deputy Minister of Justice and candidate for Mayor of Warsaw — was also involved in the smear campaign launched by PiS politicians and their propagandists against the Open Dialogue Foundation and its leadership. Repeatedly, in the pro-government media, he accused the Foundation of being funded by Russia, operating on behalf of Russian intelligence or money laundering. In October 2019, ODF sued him for violation of personal rights. The case is still pending before a Warsaw court.
In mid-2023, Patryk Jaki’s attorney Bartosz Lewandowski (a lawyer from Ordo Iuris) attached copies of 42 documents to the file of this civil case. They came from the criminal case — the pre-trial proceedings conducted by the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Lublin against Kramek.
The case is purely political
What criminal case is that? In 2017, this activist published an appeal: “Let the State Come to a Stop: Let’s Shut Down the Government!”. And the smear campaign began. The ruling Law and Justice party sent a number of inspections to ODF, the activities of the Foundation were also scrutinised by the Internal Security Agency. Kramek’s wife Lyudmyla Kozlovska, ODF’s president and a Ukrainian national, was expelled from the country by the services subordinate to the Law and Justice party on the pretext that she was an alleged threat to Poland’s security.
ODF responded by filing civil lawsuits against 20 key PiS politicians and their propagandists (they are now winning them one by one).
Kramek became such an important public enemy for the Law and Justice party that it enforced special legislation, after which the activist was promptly arrested and charged. What were the charges? “Attestation of an untruth” in issuing invoices for consultancy services for PLN 5.3 million. The activist was released from custody after a month — the bail of PLN 300,000 was paid by many members of the opposition and critics of the PiS governments. The proceedings are underway at the Lublin Regional Prosecutor’s Office, which is headed by Zbigniew Ziobro’s trusted man Jerzy Ziarkiewicz.
Kramek believes that the case has a purely political angle, as evidenced by the series of harassments he has faced. Prosecutor Ziarkiewicz deals with the most politicised cases — he prosecuted, among others, Roman Giertych, former PKP chief Jakub Karnowski, and saved the brother of former police chief Gen. Szymczyk from prison. Ziarkiewicz continues to serve as regional prosecutor in Lublin.
“It’s already completely scandalous and bizarre.”
What is so strange about the fact that Jaki’s attorney was given access to files of the pre-trial proceedings of a criminal case?
These proceedings are protected by the confidentiality of the investigation, they contain classified material. Significantly — at that time, i.e. in mid-2023 — neither Kramek nor his defence counsel still had access to these files. And Patryk Jaki — who is not a party to the case — was given such access. Our interlocutors agree that he should not have been.
“The disclosure and release to a non-party of documents from the pre-trial files, including, inter alia, minutes of witness statements and official notes of the Internal Security Agency, may constitute a breach of the secrecy of the pre-trial proceedings and violate the legally protected interests of the suspect Bartosz Kramek,” Kramek’s lawyer Radosław Baszuk states in a letter to the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Lublin. He adds that the case file “may” be made available to persons other than the parties, but only “in exceptional cases”. “These do not include, it seems, the possibility for an individual to use them in civil proceedings,” notes attorney Baszuk.
So what could these “exceptional cases” be?
“I don’t know of any,” Baszuk tells us.
Prosecutor Ewa Wrzosek states, “The release of files to a person other than the parties to the case is so exceptional that I have never given such permission, nor have I come across any investigation so far in which such permission has been given.”
The prosecutor stresses that she has never encountered the disclosure of pre-trial files to individuals — as is the case here.
“It is inconceivable to me to violate the confidentiality of the investigation, so that Patryk Jaki — a member of the same party as the general prosecutor at the time — could have access to the files of an ongoing criminal investigation.”
So in what “exceptional situations” could such files be made available to non-parties?
“Hypothetically — e.g. if the tax authorities were conducting their proceedings and wanted access to the file of a related criminal case,” Wrzosek explains as an example.
What is even more shocking to prosecutor Wrzosek is the fact that, while the prosecutor was giving the file to a party colleague of his boss, he did not make it available to the suspect and his lawyer. Wrzosek’s assessment is that “This is already completely scandalous and bizarre.”
The documents we have accessed show that Kramek and his lawyer were given access to the files in October 2023 when they demanded an explanation from the prosecutor as to why Jaki’s lawyer was viewing the files. The prosecutor did not explain what the “uniqueness” of the situation was.
As a result, on 11 January 2024, Bartosz Kramek filed a complaint to the Prosecutor’s Office about the possibility of an offence having been committed, including that of a public official, i.e. the prosecutor, exceeding the powers of the office.
“There is, by all means, a basis here for filing a criminal offence report on the unauthorised release of these files,” says prosecutor Wrzosek.
We asked Patryk Jaki how and by what means he obtained access to the files of a case that is secret and to which he is not a party. He replied that his attorney had requested that the Regional Prosecutor’s Office release part of the file and indicated the reasons — a civil dispute with the Open Dialogue Foundation.
“By order dated 29 May 2023, issued under Article 156 paragraph 1 and 5 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Prosecutor consented to the making of copies of some of the documents after they had been paid for. I point out that, according to Article 156 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, consent for access to files and making copies of documents may be obtained not only by a party to the proceedings but also by another person. The obtaining of the files […] was fully legal,” the MEP argues.
Kramek comments on the case: “I cannot disclose the files of the investigation in Lublin under pain of criminal liability […], meanwhile our litigation opponent gets access to them in an undisclosed manner and probably intends to make a public circus around it. The civil trial is open, the hearings are televised.”
The activist adds that this is not the first time that the prosecutor’s office has confused the interest of the ruling party with the public interest.
Kramek has also sent a request to General Prosecutor Professor Adam Bodnar to place the case under his supervision. He points out that the minister is concerned with the depoliticisation of the prosecutor’s office, and in this case, we are dealing with the granting of access to the case file to Ziobro’s party colleague, through a man trusted by Ziobro.