On 1 February 2011, in the Criminal Association, the Supreme Court examined the cassation filled by the convicted Grzegorz N. regarding the judgment of the Court of Appeal in G. dated 23 March 2010, changing the judgment of the Regional Court in G. dated 4 November 2009.
The criminal proceedings related to a series of offences against property, including theft of cars, committed as part of activities of a criminal group acting also to the detriment of insurance companies.
During the proceedings, courts of particular instances imposed on Grzegorz N. and then upheld an obligation to redress damage inflicted also by committing offences under Article 291 § 1 of the Criminal Code, i.e. deliberate handling of stolen goods.
In the cassation, the defence attorney of Grzegorz N. accused the judgment of the Court of Appeal in G. dated 23 March 2010 of a violation of law consisting in regarding persons whose interest protected by law in the form of property was directly infringed by the perpetrator of thefts and robberies as injured persons also in relation to offences qualified under Article 291 § 1 of the Criminal Code (deliberate handling of stolen goods) and, as a consequence, under Article 49 § 3 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, regarding also insurance companies as injured persons to the extent to which they covered damage caused to directly injured persons by criminal appropriation of their cars. In view of the complainant, in offences against property, there are no intermediate links between the act and the infringed interest protected by law only in the case of offences relating to direct appropriation of property, e.g. thefts, burglaries or robberies, not in the case of handling stolen goods which relates to secondary trade in property acquired as a result of an offence which primarily infringes an injured person’s interest protected by law. In view of the complainant, this means that in accordance with Article 49 § 3 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and Article 46 § 1 of the Criminal Code, insurance companies cannot be regarded as injured persons and beneficiaries of the obligation to redress damage inflicted by the offence of handling stolen goods, even if they covered the damage and timely filed a relevant motion in the court.
The Supreme Court in its judgment dated 1 February 2011 (ref. No III KK 243/10) expressed an opinion that a fence by his conduct causes damage to the property of the owner of an item being the object of the offence of handling stolen goods in the same way as in the case of a theft, robbery or theft with burglary because he disposes of stolen cars as if he were their owner and, as a result, interferes with the injured person’s interest, i.e. the ownership of a car, to a similar extent as a thief.
Therefore, the Supreme Court resolved that insurance companies which are regarded as injured persons under Article 49 § 3 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to the extent to which they covered damage caused to owners of stolen vehicles subject to handling stolen goods may file motions to redress damage and be addressees of obligations imposed on the accused under Article 46 of the Criminal Code.