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Prokuratura Okręgowa w Warszawie

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Basic Rights and Obligations of a Victim of Crime

A victim has the right to:

  • Inform a prosecutor or the Police of an offence prosecuted ex officio committed to his detriment (art. 304 § 1 of the Code of Penal Procedure);

  • File a motion for prosecution in the cases prosecuted on motion and to withdraw such motion with the prosecutor’s consent during preparatory proceedings or with the court consent before instituting judicial examination during the first main trial. The possibility of motion withdrawal does not apply to the offence defined in art. 197 of the Penal Code (art. 12 § 1 and 3 CPP). In the case of a motion for prosecution of certain offenders, the prosecution duty includes also other persons whose acts are strictly related to the act committed by the person indicated in the motion. This provision does not apply to the closest relatives of the person filing the motion (art. 12 § 2 CPP);

  • File a complaint to the superior prosecutor or the one appointed to supervise the authority informed of an offence if the victim was not informed of initiation or refusal to initiate investigation or inquiry within 6 weeks (art 306 § 3 CPP, art. 325a § 2 CPP);

  • Be informed of initiation, refusal to initiate or discontinuation of investigation or inquiry (art. 305 § 4 CPP, art. 325a § 2 CPP);

  • Appoint an attorney (art. 87 § 1 CPP). If the victim proves that his or her financial situation does not allow him or her to bear the costs of an attorney without detriment to themselves and their family, he or she can file a motion for appointing a duty solicitor (art. 88 § 1 CPP) to the prosecutor (during preparatory proceedings) or to the court (during court proceedings);

  • File motions for investigation or inquiry activities (art. 315 § 1 CPP, art. 325a § 2 CPP);

  • Participate in the actions for which he or she has applied (art. 315 § 2 CPP) and other investigation or inquiry activities (art. 317 § 1 CPP, art. 325a § 2 CPP) however, in the latter case the prosecutor can refuse permission to participate in such activity due to an important interest of the investigation or inquiry (art. 317 § 2 of CPP, art. 325a § 2 of CPP);

  • Participate in investigation or inquiry activities which cannot be repeated during a court hearing unless there is a risk of a loss or distortion of evidence in the event of delay (art. 316 § 1 CPP, art. 325a § 2 CPP)

  • Apply to the court with a demand to hear a witness during investigation or inquiry if there exists a risk that it would not be possible to hear him or her during court hearing (art. 316 § 3 CPP, art. 325a § 2 CPP);

  • Receive a decision on accepting the evidence from the court experts’ opinion or a specialist institution and participate in hearing the experts and acquaint himself with the experts’ opinion made in writing (art. 318 CPP);

  • Restrict his or her place of residence to the sole information for the prosecutor or the court in the case of justified concern of violence or illegal duress towards the victim being a witness or his closest relative in connection with his actions. In such cases procedural writs are delivered to the victim’s place of employment or to another address indicated by the victim (art. 191 § 3 CPP);

  • File objections to the contents of the minutes of the proceedings in which the victim participated (art. 150 § 2 CPP);

  • With the consent of the person in charge of preparatory proceedings, the right to view the files of preparatory proceedings, to make copies and photocopies and to apply for authenticated copies and photocopies at the victim’s expense (art. 156 § 5 CPP). The person in charge of the proceedings cannot refuse a copy of the minutes of the activities to the victim who participated in such activities, who had the right to participate or a document sourced from him or made in collaboration with him (art 157 § 3 CPP);

  • View the case file in the event of a refusal to initiate investigation or inquiry or a decision to discontinue investigation or inquiry (art. 306 § 1 CPP, art. 325a § 2 CPP);

  • Obtain at his own expense one copy of an audio or video recording of a procedural action (art. 147 § 4 CPP);

  • File a complaint against a refusal to disclose the file (art. 159 CPP), against a refusal to initiate an investigation or inquiry and a decision to discontinue the investigation or inquiry (art. 306 § 1 CPP, art. 325a § 2 CPP), against the actions other than decisions and orders if they violate the victim’s rights (art. 302 § 2 CPP), against the decision concerning material evidence in the event of investigation or inquiry discontinuation (art. 323 § 1 CPP, art. 325a § 2 CPP);

  • file a motion for the disqualification of the judge (prosecutor, other persons conducting preparatory proceedings, public prosecutor) in the circumstances giving rise to reasonable doubt as to his impartiality in a given case (art. 42 § 1 CPP in connection with art. 41 § 1 CPP and art. 47 CPP);

  • Prompt notification by the court or prosecutor of the revocation of detention order against the suspect, non-extension of detention order or replacing detention with another preventive measure, unless the victim declares renunciation of this right (art. 253 § 3 CPP);

  • File a motion or consent to the suspect’s motion for the Prosecutor to refer the case to a trustworthy person or institution for mediation between the victim and the suspect (art. 23a § 1 CPP);

  • Bring to the court an indictment for prosecution ex officio in the event of repeated prosecutor’s decision refusing initiation or discontinuing preparatory proceedings. The deadline for indictment is one month from the date of decision receipt by the victim. An indictment should be drawn up and signed by a solicitor; if the victim is a state, self-government or welfare institution, indictment can also be drawn up by a legal counsel (art. 55 § 1 and 2 CPP);

  • File a civil-law suit during preparatory proceedings and demand the measures for claim safeguarding. The prosecutor’s decision on claim safeguarding can be appealed to the court (art. 69 § 2 and 3 CPP). In the event of discontinuation or suspension of preparatory proceedings accompanied by a civil-law suit, the victim can, within 30 days of the date of decision receipt, demand that the case be referred to the court competent to hear civil-law cases (art. 69 § 4 CPP). If the victim fails to demand so on time, the safeguarding expires, and the formerly brought suit has no legal effect;

  • Declaration, after indictment to the court is brought by a public prosecutor and before instituting judicial examination, that he wishes to act as an auxiliary prosecutor (art. 53 and 54 CPP) or a civil plaintiff (art. 62 CPP). The victim acting as an auxiliary prosecutor has the right to file motions as to evidence, attend the whole court hearing, ask questions to interrogated persons and appeal against the verdict. An appeal against a verdict of a regional court should be drawn up and signed by a solicitor or in the cases listed in art. 88 item 2 and 3 CPP – by a legal counsel;

  • Bring indictment as a private prosecutor to court and support indictment for offences prosecuted upon private accusation (art. 59 § 1 CPP). In the cases prosecuted upon private accusation prosecutor initiates proceedings or enters initiated proceedings if the public interest requires so. Proceedings are then conducted ex officio, and the victim who formerly brought a private accusation exercises the rights of an auxiliary prosecutor (art. 60 § 1 and 2 CPP);

  • Before the completion of the victim’s hearing during the main trial, to file a motion for the court decision on the duty to redress damage in whole or in part by the offender who caused death, grievous detriment to health, impaired functioning of a bodily organ or disturbance of health, offender against safety in transportation or against the environment, property and economic turnover. In place of this obligation the court can, if the offender is convicted, decide on exemplary damages for the victim of grievous detriment to health, impaired functioning of a bodily organ, disturbance of health and for the sustained injury (art. 46 § 1 and 2 CPP);

  • Apply to the court for cash benefit in the form and according to the principles defined in the Act on State Indemnity for the Victims of Certain Intentional Offences (Journal of Laws No. 169 item 1415 of 6 September 2005);

The victim is obliged to:

  • Attend as a witness whenever summoned by the authority conducting proceedings (art. 177 § 1 CPP). The witness being a victim who without justification failed to appear before the authority conducting proceedings or left the place before act completion without consent of such authority can be fined in the amount up to PLN 10 000, he or she can also be detained and be brought by force (art. 285 § 1 and 2 CPP);

  • In order to limit the circle of suspects and establish the value of disclosed material evidence, it is allowed to take the victim’s fingerprints, mucosa cheek swab, hair, saliva, writing sample, smell, take a photograph or record the person’s voice; with the victim’s consent, an expert can also use the technical measures controlling the person’s unconscious bodily reactions (art. 192a § 1 and 2 CPP);

  • Submit to examination and tests, excluding surgery or observation in a medical institution, if the penalty for the act depends on the victim’s health condition (art. 192 § 1 CPP). If there are doubts concerning the victim’s mental condition, degree of intellectual development, perception ability or his or her ability to reproduce perception, the court (prosecutor) can order that he or she should be heard in the presence of an expert doctor of medicine or an expert psychologist, and the witness cannot object (art. 192 § 2 CPP). In any other case a witness’s body examination, medical or psychological examination require his or her consent (art. 192 § 4 CPP);

  • During his stay abroad, indicate address for correspondence in Poland; failure to do so means that a letter sent to the last known address in Poland or, if there is no such address, enclosed to the case file is considered delivered (art. 138 CPP);

  • inform the authority conducting the proceedings of the victim’s new address in the event of changing the place of residence or absence in the place formerly indicated, if not, the letter sent to the formerly indicated address is considered delivered (art. 139 § 1 CPP).

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