President had right to pardon ex anti-corruption chief, top court rules
Poland's Constitutional Tribunal has ruled President Andrzej Duda had the right to pardon former Central Anti-Corruption Bureau (CBA) head Mariusz Kamiński - who in 2015 was sentenced to three years in prison in a non-final verdict for abuse of power.
Some legal experts have voiced doubts about whether the right to a pardon does not apply to people whose sentencing by a court is final and absolute. Kamiński's sentence was not yet final as it had been appealed, but a response to the appeal was still pending.
On May 31, 2017 Poland's Supreme Court ruled that the power of presidential pardon can only be applied to individuals who have been lawfully convicted under judgements that are final and no longer subject to appeal.
The case was then suspended because of an alleged competence dispute between the president and the Supreme Court before the Constitutional Tribunal. But last week, the Supreme Court removed the suspension in the case of Kaminski, who is now interior minister, coordinator of the special services and deputy head of the Law and Justice (PiS) party.
The Constitutional Tribunal (TK), Poland's top court, decided to examine the competence dispute after six years, during Friday's hearing. In a subsequent ruling TK said that "The Supreme Court has no control over the president's right of clemency. Allowing such a review would constitute a gross violation of the essence of the presidential prerogative."
Kamiński, was convicted in March 2015 after masterminding an anti-corruption provocation that a Warsaw court found illegal and criminal. Three other officials also received prison sentences. President Duda on November 16, 2015 pardoned all four.
Kamiński was head of the CBA in 2007. The operation was carried out on his orders and designed to unmask an alleged "land scam" involving officials of the then Ministry of Agriculture. In its aftermath the then ruling coalition, including PiS and two smaller parties, collapsed.
In 2010 all four CBA officials were charged with abusing their powers, illegal covert actions, forgery of documents and deceptive evidence gathering.