Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Post #600!
Ziobro opposes amendments to 24-hour courts

Former Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro considers the intended amendments to the law on 24-hour courts detrimental to the Polish judiciary.

Former minister of justice in the previous Law and Justice (PiS) government, now the biggest opposition party, reminded that 24-hour courts are the main tool of fighting the rampant plague of drunk-driving and football hooligans.

He added that sentences passed by these courts - directly after a crime was committed - are a just and effective punishment, as evidenced in the Polish statistics, in which the number of drunk drivers fell markedly after 24-hour courts were introduced.

State Prosecutor Marek Staszak said in a radio interview that what is planned is an overhaul of these courts, not a scheme which does away with them entirely. The amendments are intended to cut the operating costs up to 25-30 million zlotys a year.

The amendments include replacing obligatory defense with the optional type, which means that a defendant will be allowed to resign from being defended if they plead guilty right at the start of the proceedings, and abolishing obligatory detainment, save hooligans.

Staszak concluded in saying that there is no reason to keep a person in temporary detention if they agreed to serve the sentence.

The law on 24-hour courts and came into power 12 March 2007 and were intended to deal with petty crime. If a perpetrator of a criminal act liable to a sentence of not more than 5 years of imprisonment, including hooligan deeds was caught red-handed and passed over to a court in less than 48 hours from the time of detainment the case is heard before a 24-hour court which can pass an imprisonment sentence of not more than two years within 24 hours.