Lawbreaking act performed by custom officials was material.

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Today we present the decision of Appeals Court in Warsaw, compensating The Company on the principle of „economic freedom”.

Proceeding was conducted as a result of Company’s appeal against the adjudiction of the District Court. The District Court refused to give compensation for illegally impounded gaming machines, despite court’s judgement repealing prosecution concerning retention od property.

Appeals Court in the adjudiction from 5th November 2015 doesn’t agree with reasoning of first instance’s court concerning gambling machines kept outside of casinos- courts voided the approval of prosecutor’s office in this case.

In the case of illegaly retained gambling machines, Customs Office granted the compensation for 85 318,09 PLN!

In the area of State Treasury’s liability for damages for illegal action performed by public authorities, unlawfullness premise means breaking the law by public authorities…”

In justification, Appeals Court states: „In order to determine responsibility of the prosecuted (State Treasury) for possible damage caused by retention of gambling machines (…) it was sufficient to say that the actions of customs officers have gone beyond the expertise concluded in Code of Criminal Procedure and Tax Penal Code. According to Appeals Court, courts decisions repealing decisions of Prosecutor’s office about retention of the property clearly indicates inconsistency of the actions with Code of Criminal Procedure…

Also: „…actions of customs officers in this case violated fundamental rights and freedoms of The Constitution, like property law (article 22 of The Consitution) and freedom of establishment (article 23 of The Constitution). Therefore, it’s undoubtful that the violation of the law, from this point of view, was material”.

The judgement is another bucket of cold water poured on heads of customs officials, who are baselessly retaining gaming machines. The amount that State Treasury has to indemnify for unlawful retention of gambling machines should make the Chief think twice. Maybe if he would have to pay the sum from his own pocket…

P.S. Chief of Customs Office in Pruszków, Mrs. Iwona Pofelska, in 2014 ended up with the income worth 131 051,98 PLN.


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