Saturday, April 10, 2010

Clemency for Polish rapist?

The District Court in Poznan, mid western Poland, has postponed till Wednesday, a review of a petition for the pardon of Jakub Tomczak (pictured) convicted to a double-life prison term by a UK court for a brutal rape.

The man was sentenced in January 2008 to double life imprisonment by a British court after being found guilty of the rape and battery of a 48 year-old woman in Exeter, southwest England. The attack was so brutal the woman has been confined to a wheelchair ever since.

Tomczak’s case has set a legal precedent as, originally, the Polish court had not evaluated any of the evidence at the trial, limiting its verdict to the duration of imprisonment in Poland ruled by the British side. Though it upheld the sentence, the Polish penal code does not envisage “double life imprisonment”.

Tomczak’s family filed the request for a pardon with the Presidential Chancellery with over 6,500 signatures in support. They claim Jakub Tomczak’s case had not been fully reviewed by the court in Exeter and the fact that the victim was a local police employee and her husband a policeman, stirred public emotions and subsequently could have influenced the court’s decision.

Tomczak, then back in Poznan, voluntarily gave a DNA sample to police after he was suspected of committing the crime. The DNA matched a semen sample from the scene of the crime.