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Judgment on journalist’s phone records collected by Central Anti-corruption Bureau

On Thursday, 16 April 2013, the Warsaw’s Court of Appeal heard the appeal in the personal interests infringement case brought by Bogdan Wróblewski, a journalist with Gazeta Wyborcza, against the Head of the Central Anticorruption Bureau. The claimant, now the appellee, alleged that the CAB had unlawfully acquired journalist’s telecommunication data, including his phone records, for a period of six months in the years 2005–2007. The first-instance court ruled for Mr Wróblewski. The Bureau appealed against the ruling.

At the appellate hearing, the Court focused on examining an appellant’s allegation concerning a violation of procedural rules. The appellant argued that the first-instance court had not provided the CAB with an opportunity to rebut the presumption of the illegality of a personal interests violation. This, according to the appellant, resulted from the court’s failure to oblige the claimant to file certain documents to the case files. The documentation in question was to include, among other things, the prosecutor’s office decision to discontinue investigation into a case of the alleged abuse of power by the CAB officers who requested disclosure of phone records from telecommunication carriers. The investigation was launched after the journalist reported a suspected crime to authorities, but the prosecutors did not find any criminal conduct on the part of Bureau’s officials.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the CAB submissions and did not admit these documents into evidence.

The claimant, Bogdan Wróblewski, was present in the courtroom, accompanied by his pro bono counsel: Mr Maciej Ślusarek and Ms Milena Bogdanowicz. The CAB was represented by an attorney with the State Treasury Solicitors’ Office.

HFHR’s Dr. Adam Bodnar and Dorota Głowacka also appeared in court and presented statements since the Foundation joined the proceedings as a community organisation.

The judgment will be pronounced on Friday, 26 April 2013, at 3.30 pm.

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