Derbyshire Police have been criticised in court for attempting to flout the principles of “open justice” when they applied to keep a Polish rapist’s identity secret to protect his human rights. The application was denied.
Thanks to the European Union’s free movement rules, Marcin Jaworski, 20, was able to move to Shirebrook, Derbyshire despite a conviction in 2014 for rape, for which a Polish court gave him a suspended sentence.
His conviction came to light when he was arrested in February for breaching a ban on drinking in the town centre, introduced because of local anger at the loutish behaviour of newly arrived migrants.
Derbyshire Constabulary applied for him to be added to the sex offenders register so that his movements could be monitored, but requested that the hearing be conducted in secret.
A police lawyer said that the migrant “lives in an area where there are high tensions between the Polish and British communities, to the extent that there have been episodes of violence between the groups,” arguing that Jaworski had a right to life and that there was a “real and grave risk” he could suffer “significant and serious harm” if his conviction became public knowledge.
But the application for secrecy was rejected by District Judge Andrew Davison after local newspaper the Mansfield Chad, in association with The Times and other publications successfully countered that a secrecy order would breach open justice, and that the police had failed to demonstrate a “real and immediate” threat to Jaworski’s life.
The Mansfield Chad further argued that restricting knowledge of Jaworski’s identity would hamper efforts to investigate why he was allowed to enter the country in the first place, and that it was in the interests of public safety to keep the case public.
Judge Davidson agreed, telling a civil hearing at Chesterfield Magistrates court: “A fundamental principle is open justice which is a hallmark of the law. The media plays a vital role in the upholding of that principle on behalf of the public.”
Thousands of Poles have moved to Shirebrook to work at a local Sports Direct distribution centre, where they make up the majority of the 5,000 strong workforce. The company has refused to disclose whether Jaworski was hired by them, the Telegraph has reported.
According to police testimony, about 10 percent of the town’s population is now Eastern European, which is putting a “social strain” on the town’s facilities. The local residents group Shirebrook together has already held protests following two incidents involving Polish males; one of those is said to have involved a stabbing.
Jaworski did not attend the hearing on Friday as he has moved to another part of the country, details of which were not disclosed by police.
But Lacey Oscroft, 28, his former neighbour in the quiet cul-de-sac in which he lived in Shirebrook told The Times: “It seems to me that criminals have got more rights than me. I have the right to know if a rapist is living next to me.”