Thursday, November 01, 2012

Poland's Supreme Court Rules "Offending Believers" Prosecution Does Not Require Specific Intent

The Guardian reports on an Oct. 29, 2012 decision (full text in Polish) by Poland's Supreme Court which held that a member of the heavy metal band Behemoth can be prosecuted under Polish Criminal Code Sec. 196 for offending religious sensibilities even if he did not have the "direct intention" of offending believers. The court held that:
The crime of offending religious sensibilities is committed not only by he who intends to carry it out, but also by he who is aware that his actions may lead to offence being taken.
The prosecution grew out of a 2007 concert in which band member Adam Darski (also known as "Nergal"), appearing in full costume, tore up a Bible and said the Catholic church is "the most murderous cult on the planet." Apparently the defendant argued both that this is protected artistic expression, and second, that because this was a well-known part of their act, fans came expecting it and would not be offended. (See prior related posting.)