A Polish lawyer who was reported to the police after threatening and harassing employees and partners of the law firm that had hired him as a consultant, has been jailed for 18 months.
43-year-old Bartosz Marcin Adruszaniec had denied charges of theft, blackmail, extortion and causing persons to fear that violence would be used against them. He was also charged with making threats, both orally and in writing and misuse of electronic communications equipment.
The law firm had terminated Adruszaniec’s contract and the man had not reacted well.
He proceeded to besiege a number of the firm’s employees and company directors with emails and WhatsApp messages – 67 pages of the latter alone, with increasingly threatening language.
The man was later reported stealing a bottled beverage from a stationer in St. Paul’s Bay and arrested following a scuffle with the owner of a private residence that he had tried to enter, claiming to have thought it to be a museum.
The Court observed that within the course of conduct of the accused towards various persons all of whom work at the law firm caused fear that violence will be used against them or their property or other members of their immediate family.
Adruszaniec, who represented himself in the proceedings, having discharged two legal aid lawyers, had pleaded insanity, saying that this was a result of “bullying” by the firm. A psychiatrist testified to the man’s mental health problems, also telling the court that he had made significant progress since the episode.
Magistrate Gabriella Vella observed that the legal definition of insanity did not refer to a specific medical condition.
The psychiatrist’s analysis and observation of the mental state of the accused, when considered in the light of established legal principles, meant that “it clearly results that the accused cannot plead insanity,” said the court.
“The accused ex admissis claims and the psychiatrist confirms that he acted in the way he acted because of the situation he found himself in when he perceived that he was being bullied and isolated in a foreign country with no money and no friends, exacerbated such acts by the medication which the accused takes for a particular (physical) health condition.”
“A malfunctioning of the mind of transitory effect caused by the application to the body of some external factor such as violence, drugs…alcohol and hypnotic influences cannot fairly be said to be due to disease, that is due to disease of the mind,” said the magistrate.
Finding him guilty of extortion, making threats through electronic communications equipment, causing persons to fear violence and making threats in writing, the court condemned the lawyer to 18 months in prison. A protection order was issued in favour of the partners in the law firm.
Inspector Clayton Camilleri prosecuted. Lawyer Stefano Filletti appeared for the victims.