The man who spent 18 years in prison for an error of justice was released and will receive a juicy fortune
The legal system of many countries is quite lacking in several ways. In some nations, every year crimes are recorded that remain unpunished due to these shortcomings and the irregularities inherent in acts of corruption, ineptitude, and incapacity of officials, lawyers and others involved in the corresponding investigation processes. Although it could be believed that this only happens in developing countries, it is not like that, because recently in Europe, specifically in Poland, the same problem has made a lot of noise! The release of a man who spent 18 years of his life in prison for a crime that he did not commit. Here we break down the details.
Tomasz Komenda (42) was sentenced to prison for allegedly abusing and murdering a teenager in 2000.
The whole story began on New Year's Eve 1995/1996 in a small town in southwestern Poland. It was when, in the morning, on January 1, 1996, the body of a teenager was found. The young woman was naked, although the temperature was 20 degrees below zero. The girl, along with her friends, celebrated the New Year in one of the bars. However, someone took advantage of her innocence, abused her and abandoned her without giving her any help.
However, last May he was finally released.
Immediately, they began the investigations and the search to find the one who, in a horrible way, killed an innocent adolescent who had her whole life ahead of her. The police published the portrait in the newspapers that could present the possible rapist. One of the neighbors of Tomasz Komenda, seeing the image, was sure that the man in the photo was Tomasz. Immediately he called the police saying that it is probably his neighbor who abused the girl.
However, Komenda's release was not because he had served his sentence.
From then on, the worst nightmare of this man began. Tomasz was arrested on suspicion of a homicide. The investigations and interviews did not stop and they continued more and more. Tomasz had hoped that he would soon leave since he was not guilty. During the tragic night of 1995/1996, he was in the city of Wroclaw, a distance of almost 40 kilometers from the town where the tragedy occurred. Many of his friends could confirm it, but for the police that did not matter.
It was the clarification of the crime that gave him his freedom 18 years after he entered prison.
When comparing the DNA tests, it turned out that the genetic material found in the body of the deceased was identical with that of Tomasz Komenda. The same happened with the prints of the teeth since the teenager had several bites on her body. The officials did not doubt that Tomasz was the culprit of that horrible tragedy.
This is because, after that long period, the Supreme Court of Justice of Poland finally determined his innocence.
However, all the tests were done many years ago when the technology was not yet so advanced. We must remember that the results could not always be exactly true, but unfortunately, the judges ignored those opinions and elements that did not fit the whole story. It was easier to convict that man for more than 20 years in prison and end the case. In this way, Tomasz Komenda was locked up for 18 years, wasting the best time of his life.
This happened, thanks to the results of the advanced forensic analysis performed on the victim.
Although his parents wanted to fight for justice, they could not do anything. Nobody wanted to hear them, the case was closed and everyone had to accept the sentence. However, it was Tomasz who had to go through a real nightmare inside the prison. The best years of his life became the worst memories that will probably remain in his mind until the end of his days.
Of course, when the news became known, the case went viral around the world.
However, after so many years, some officials managed to have the case of Tomasz Komenda analyzed again to verify that he was truly guilty since the evidence that was presented almost 20 years ago is no longer enough. The investigation started again and many inconsistencies came out. In March 2018, Tomasz Komenda was cleared and finally released from prison.
The history of Komenda is a clear example of the shortcomings and irregularities of the Polish justice system and of many other countries.
Upon hearing the sentence that declared him innocent, Tomasz could not contain the tears. He did not know what to do now with his life and how to restart everything he has lost for so many years ago. The world he left two decades ago is very different from what he can see now. He needs time to assimilate all the changes and above all to get used to the rhythm of life again. Many things make him afraid and his mental state has to be controlled by a psychologist.
However, for Zbigniew Ziobro, the Polish Minister of Justice, it is a sign that these errors can be corrected.
The case of Tomasz Komenda is a clear example that justice cannot be based on just a few pieces of evidence that are not even clear. Now Tomasz has to learn to live again and know the world that he could not see up close many years ago. Leaving the prison walls was a great relief, but at the same time, it was a huge shock. Many things have changed during those long 18 years.
Also, Ziobro recognizes that this serious error will be impossible to repair.
Today, Komenda wants to fight for justice and economic compensation for all the lost years. After being released from prison, Tomasz revealed that during all those years he was threatened by other prisoners. Many times he was beaten, but the police did nothing to defend him. The psychological damage suffered by this man cannot have any kind of compensation.
"No one can return the lost years, but even so, this liberation restores the sense of the dignity of an innocent man who was wrongly sentenced," he said.
Now the real battle to try to reward those years and to seek the truth that for so many years was hidden among lies and wrong investigations has begun. Although Tomasz will no longer be able to recover from what happened to him in the past, he can still do a lot to not lose a day of those who are left in freedom. What he needs most now is the support of his family and the love he could not feel for so many years. Komenda met with Pope Francis and confessed that faith in God helped him in the most difficult times.
And, how do you give back all the experiences and events missed so long to this person?
Tomasz does not want to be filled with bad feelings but it is hard not to think about everything that had happened to him in such an unfair way, just because it was the easiest solution. The first day that Tomasz was released from prison, he said openly that now he did not want to cry anymore, that he is the happiest man in the world. His family and acquaintances welcomed him and they all started crying when they saw their friend after so many years.
That is simply impossible. However, the Polish Supreme Court found an alternative way to repair the damage.
The Prime Minister of Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki decided to help him financially as long as there is no decision on the compensation due. Tomasz will get a certain amount of money every month that will help him live and enjoy life in peace. It is very important that he now continues with the therapy and can simply take advantage of everything that the world of today offers him. Tomasz still does not know what he wants to do with his life and has no plans for the future.
This measure consists of the payment of 10 million złotys (Polish currency), almost 3 million dollars, as compensation.
For now, he went to Italy to visit the tomb of John Paul II. He had the opportunity to meet Pope Francisco and could not hide how moved he was. Now, he is taking advantage of everything and seeks life everywhere. At last, he can enjoy his family, his parents, but he does not hide that he would love to have a wife and form his own family. It is one of his biggest dreams.
Komenda could not contain the tears of emotion.
Now, Tomasz Komenda is completely free and there is no possibility of him being locked up again. In none of the processes, he could contain the tears. Freedom is something that for many years he longed for and now his dreams have been fulfilled. Tomasz thanked all the people who were with him during that time and who never doubted his innocence. For now, he is accumulating the forces to prepare for the next battle, this time for the worthy compensation.