A man who was accused wrongly of rape and murder of a 15 year old girl, and was eventually sentenced to jail, has been released after spending 18 years behind bars.
Tomasz Komenda, 42, was wrongly convicted of the brutal rape and murder of the girl in south-western Poland in 1997. He was wrongly convicted as a result of the leak in the judicial system in the country, which failed to carry out the right investigations behind the crime committed.
Following a review, Poland’s Supreme Court acquitted Mr Komenda and stated that he could not have been responsible for the slaying.
Justice minister Zbigniew Ziobro, who personally ordered a review of the case, said the acquittal shows that the mistakes of the justice system can be corrected.
“No -one can give back the years that Tomasz Komenda has lost. Still, the acquittal restores the sense of dignity of an innocent man who had been wrongly convicted.”
The case has shocked Poland, which is currently governed by the right-wing Law and Justice party. Campaigners say the trial and subsequent fallout poses serious questions about the country’s “dysfunctional” legal system.
The parents of the teen said they had developed doubts as to the guilt of the man and urged authorities to reexamine the conviction.
Mr Komenda was clearly emotional as the trial judge ruled he could now walk free.
He later said:
“For the last 18 years I have been asking myself: What have I done wrong to have my life turned into hell?” All that time, I was treated like filth. And it felt like the world is all against me”
He claimed he is now undergoing psychological treatment following his ordeal.
The court’s decision focused on DNA evidence presented during the original trial in 2004 which was later proved to be unreliable. New advanced forensic techniques have subsequently exonerated Mr Komenda.