Case remanded for retrial for the sixth time
The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has been taking an ongoing interest in the trial against Waldemar T. for more than ten years.
The incident took place on 24 October 1995. On this day Paweł P. and his colleagues working at the same car repair garage were celebrating the name day of Rafał S. When they run out of alcohol, Paweł P. and Rafał S. went to a shop at ul. Palisadowa. At the shop a verbal altercation took place between Paweł P. and one of the men standing in front of the establishment. The latter took out a gun and twice shot Paweł P. in the back. Instead of going to hospital, drunk Paweł P. returned to the garage and told the colleagues what had happened. It was some hours later that he was admitted to hospital where he died from internal bleeding.
Investigators needed several months to identify the suspects. They took their interest in Waldemar T. following a testimony given by an anonymous witness. That testimony resulted in a four-and-half-year pre-trial detention imposed against Waldemar T.
The first trial against Waldemar T. was brought to an end in 1998. The Provincial Court in Warsaw found him guilty of murdering Paweł P. and sentenced him to 15 years in prison. The second instance court decided, however, that the Provincial Court misapplied the evidence taken from the anonymous witness, at that time a new evidentiary source only introduced to the Code of the Criminal Procedure. On appeal, the case was remanded for retrial.
During the second trial the Circuit Court admitted the alibi of Waldemar T. and acquitted him. The same judgement was delivered by the Circuit Court in three other trials which followed the Court of Appeal’s revocations of its earlier decisions.
In the recent judgement, issued in November, the Court of Appeal in Warsaw once again ordered re-trial. In the verbal justification given for the decision, the Court stressed that despite the fact that so much time passed since the incident, the inadvertences of the first instance court were still blatant.