Sunday, February 14, 2010

Rapist wants presidential pardon

From: NPE
Tomczak was convicted of rape in 2007
The family of a Polish man serving a double life sentence in England for rape and grievous bodily harm have requested that President Lech Kaczynski asks the British legal authorities for a pardon.

The president’s office confirmed that it had received an official request for pardon on behalf of Jakub Tomczak, and that it would pass it on to the attorney-general for England and Wales. His family has also started a petition, which now boasts over 6,500 signatures, calling for his release.

In 2007, Tomczak was convicted in the English city of Exeter of a sexual assault on a 48-year-old woman that left his victim with permanent brain damage. On the night of the attack in July 2006 police found the woman in a car park, naked and with a cracked skull that erased her memory of the assault.
But despite the jury returning an 11-1 verdict and strong DNA evidence, Tomczak’s family contest the conviction.

“First of all, the injured party worked for the local police, and her husband is a policeman, which must have affected the attitude of the court and the public,” said Krzysztof Czeszejko-Sochacki, a lawyer working for the Tomczak family.

At the time many in the UK’s Polish community doubted that Tomczak, a grade-A law student who had travelled to Exeter to work in a hotel during the summer holidays, would receive a fair trial in the city, owing to an apparent campaign in the press to secure his conviction.

Along with fears that the trial was prejudiced, Tomczak’s legal team have also raised concerns over the DNA evidence that played a key role in the case.

Although DNA evidence found on the victim and Tomczak matched, the Pole’s legal team point out that the first sample taken by police was discarded after contamination, and the same fate also befell a second sample owing to a technical problem in computer software.

It was only at the third attempt that police managed to find a match.

The family’s lawyer also argue that other evidence used to secure the 25-yearold’s conviction was circumstantial, and that CCTV footage taken of man close to the victim appeared to show somebody dressed differently to Tomczak.