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Another ‘homopho-bus’ driver convicted. This time in Częstochowa

Another ‘homopho-bus’ driver convicted. This time in Częstochowa

Image source: © milosc_ / X
Marta Grzeszczuk,
20.03.2024 16:30

The District Court in Częstochowa has found a driver of a so-called homopho-bus guilty. The driver disrupted the 2022 Equality March in the city. Consequently, the man has been sentenced to pay a fine and cover legal costs.

During the Equality March in Częstochowa in July 2022, a van adorned with homophobic slogans trailed closely behind individuals who identify with the LGBTQ+ community and their supporters. As reported by wyborcza.pl, the vehicle’s loudspeakers broadcasted disturbing messages, including the claim that "Gays adopt children to rape them and prepare Polish society to accept paedophilia." At the helm of the van was Jan B.

Częstochowa courts' shifting stance on the homophobe

Several women associated with the Demokratyczna RP association and Tomasz Bieda, a lawyer from Częstochowa, reported incidents of disturbing public order and causing disgrace in a public place to law enforcement authorities. The Częstochowa City Police Station initiated proceedings and submitted a request to the court for the punishment of the homophobic van driver. In April 2023, the District Court in Częstochowa determined that the van driver had exercised his constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression, resulting in an acquittal.

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Following objections from auxiliary prosecutors, the District Court ruled in injunction proceedings that the driver of the homophobic van had violated the law. Specifically, he had breached regulations prohibiting the use of sound amplification systems or devices in publicly accessible urban areas, built-up areas, and areas designated for recreational and leisure purposes. Additionally, he was found to have contravened Article 141 of the Code of Offences.

Article 141 states: "Whoever places an indecent announcement, inscription, or drawing, or uses indecent words in public shall be punished by restriction of liberty, fines of up to 1500 zloty, or a reprimand." Jan B. was subsequently fined PLN 1,000 and incurred PLN 170 in legal costs. He filed an objection. In May 2023, the court of first instance discontinued the misdemeanour proceedings.

The homopho-bus driver convicted again

The auxiliary prosecutors lodged another appeal, and the Regional Court concurred, deeming the discontinuation of the case premature. On 15th March 2024, the District Court in Częstochowa issued a verdict for breaching the provision of Article 141 of the Code of Offences, imposing a fine of PLN 1,000 on the van driver and ordering payment of the proceedings’ costs. The verdict is not legally binding.

This marks another conviction of homopho-bus drivers under the disorderly conduct legislation. Conversely, in December 2023, the first final judgment was delivered in Gdansk for defaming LGBTQ+ minority individuals through slander disseminated via harassing vans. When the Hate Speech Act, announced by the government, takes effect, defamation based on membership in the LGBTQ+ minority, among other grounds, will be prosecuted ex officio rather than through civil action as previously done.

Source: gazeta.pl

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