In what has been billed as a lead test case for Europe, a High Court judge has stated that "the common value of the rule of law" in Poland has been "systematically damaged" and that democracy in that country has been breached.
The comments were made during a hearing dealing with the extradition of one Artur Celmer a Polish national, who is wanted in his own country on drug trafficking charges. Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly said a number of legislative changes in Poland in the last two years were "so immense" that they amounted to "what appears to be the deliberate, calculated and provocative legislative dismantling by Poland of the independence of the judiciary, a key component of the rule of law".
Celmer's counsel, Seán Guerin SC said that assumptions of trust and confidence at the heart of the European Arrest Warrant process could no longer be relied upon with regard to Poland.
Justice Donnelly said it was necessary for the High Court to request a ruling from the European Court of Justice before making a final determination on the case because "respect for the rule of law is essential for mutual trust in the operation of the European arrest warrant" process.
RTÉ News: High Court judge wants ruling over 'immense' law changes in Poland