You should know that depending on a stage of a criminal trial we differentiate the suspect from the defendant. By no means are these notions identical. A suspect in a criminal trial is a person who has been issued with such a decision upon presentation of an allegation for committing a particular crime, or who has been presented with such an allegation after acceding to interrogation as a suspect without issuing such a decision. The defendant is a person who has been issued an indictment to appear in an appropriate court, or whose public prosecutor has issued a conditional discontinuance of the proceedings.

During the whole criminal proceeding, the suspect, and in turn the defendant, is granted a series of rights under valid criminal procedure. Remember, however, that the defendant not only has lots of rights, but also many obligations to meet. If a defendant remains at liberty, they have an obligation to appear at every call of any organ conducting preliminary proceedings, and to inform that organ about every change of residence or stay lasting longer than 7 days – in the case of an unjustified absence of the defendant, the organ conducting proceedings may rule on a compulsory appearance etc.

Moreover, pay attention to the fact that a suspect/defendant does not face any liability for hiding the truth by telling lies, so does not face criminal liability for giving false evidence. The suspect, unlike the witnesses, is not cautioned about criminal liability connected with  giving false evidence, which could result in possible criminal liability. This means that a defendant may lie to defend themself.

            As you already know, one of the rights of a defendant is the right to a defender. So they can at any point choose a defender. Only in strictly defined cases, i.e. mandatory defence, the defendant must have a set defense attorney. We mean here cases when the defendant is juvenile, deaf, mute, blind, or there is a justified doubt over their sanity, or the court decides the presence of a defender is necessary under circumstances making the defence more difficult, and still in proceedings at the district court as a court of the first instance, if the defendant was charged with a crime or if they are serving a sentence.

            Remember that the defendant is considered innocent until their guilt is stated by a lawful  judgement of the court. This stems from the Constitution of Poland and the presumption of innocence under criminal procedure. This presumption shifts the weight of presenting evidence of a persons guilt to the public prosecutor.

            The defendant who has been given a disadvantageous ruling by the court of the first instance is granted a right to appeal. The date of the appeal is 14 days hence and begins for each eligible person on the day of the ruling and justification delivery. Remember that the condition for effective appeal is submitting an application for preparing a ruling justification and delivering the ruling along with the justification beforehand.



Top Map Exit