Kochański & Partners win a case for Ringier Axel Springer Polska before the Supreme Court.
On 29 October 2015, the Supreme Court in Warsaw reversed and remanded a case in which a final judgment was rendered by the Appellate Court in Warsaw, which case was instituted by the former acting manager of Ośrodek Rozwoju Edukacji (Centre for Education Development), against Ringier Axel Springer Polska (RASP) represented by Kochański & Partners (Kochanski & Partners).
The case concerned an article published in the daily “Fakt”, which described a situation where
a person who had been convicted by a final judgment of handling stolen goods was employed in
a senior position at the Ministry of National Education. As the conviction had become spent before that person was employed, the Courts of first and second instance recognized that in such a case the press had no right to write about such conviction.
Kochanski & Partners appealed against the judgment to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court accepted the cassation appeal for consideration on the basis of the legal issue presented therein, namely “whether the press, in performance of its statutory role in the realization of people’s right to honest information and transparency in public life, can publish information that a person who became a public officer had been convicted of a crime against property, in a situation where their conviction has been spent.”
In an oral statement of reasons, the Supreme Court stated that the interpretation of Article 106 of the Criminal Code by the Appellate Court, namely that it provided for an absolute prohibition on writing about a spent conviction, was too strict and literal. The Supreme Court, in reversing the Appellate Court’s judgment appealed against, emphasised that a conviction, even if spent, may be of significance and in certain circumstances may be mentioned in the press. Thus, it is necessary to ascertain whether in a given case it is justified to inform the public of a past conviction, taking into account that the person concerned is employed at a government body.