2017 was the worst year in the history of publishing Nowy Czas. Conversely, it was
also the year in which Nowy Czas won a spectacular victory in the British High Court of Justice, in a libel trial lasting seven days (initially listed for two weeks).
The claimant was Jan Serafin, in his previous careers a community activist, builder, wholesaler, seducer, and bankrupt. Already at the very start of this legal procedure, which lasted almost two years, not only I – the author of the article "Bankruptcy Need Not Be Painful", was hearing about numerous allegations against Serafin. He made his (£100,000) claim also against Czas Publishers Limited, and Publishing Director Teresa Bazarnik-Malkiewicz. In Serafin's pleadings one could already discern the Byzantine machinations of our opponent, who was supported by some members of the Polish Community (for which there is evidence), who felt the criticism of their actions by Nowy Czas was too much. But why claim against three parties? Ultimately, it was I, as the author, the Chief Editor, and co-owner of Nowy Czas who should have been solely responsible for the said article: "Bankruptcy Need Not Be Painful".
The answer to this is simple. Jan Serafin, and his advisors, clearly embarked on an action to completely destroy Nowy Czas, thinking that ensnaring the paper in this trap it would have no chance of escape: that Nowy Czas would be utterly destroyed, annihilated both financially and psychologically, and that the paper would disappear from the horizons of publishing. This in turn, had the added purpose of applying huge pressure on Nowy Czas with the aim of using the legal action of defamation as a tool to force the paper into submission – an expensive financial settlement with Jan Serafin.
But, things turned out differently. The claimant Jan Serfin when confronted by Mr Justice Jay as to how things might pan out, responded in a carefree manner "I can only win" (sic!). When finally he realised that this would not be so easy, if only because Mr Justice Jay, a just man, in weighing up the Scales of Justice, does so proportionally, measuring the evidence before him, Jan Serafin on the seventh day of the trial (closing submissions), started to cry in court. This staged breakdown was anticipated by one of the witnesses.
Every settlement offer made by the Claimant – advantageous only to him – was uncompromisingly rejected by Nowy Czas. We were adamant to reach and seek the truth. Jan Serafin was always counting on winning. He was even ready to consider paying back money he owed to some of his victims.
For Nowy Czas this was a particularly stressful two years, but we managed as best we could to publish and issue the paper – more or less regularly until the most intense preparation for the trial. We consciously did not advise our readers of the precarious state of things.
Mr Justice Jay, an exceptional specialist on the law of libel and defamation (https://www.theguardian.com/law/2013/may/08/leveson-robert-jay-high-court-judge) regarded our Defence as wholly justified and put the burden of costs on the claimant Jan Serafin (around £500,000 – we are still waiting for the exact figure from the Court). In the light of the above it is worth to mention that Mr Justice Jay said that the matter (trial action) should never have got as far as it did.
A more detailed commentary on the above action and victory over Jan Serafin will be in Nowy Czas's January 2018 edition. Last year, 2017, we achieved a huge success, and the New Year 2018 can only be better, something we wish all our loyal readers, sympathisers, and supporters – particularly for their moral and financial support.
Nowy Czas wishes to thank wholeheartedly the outstanding barrister Anthony Metzer QC, who came to our assistance at the last minute, with electrifying speed immersing himself in the labyrinthine morass that of the Polish matters on an English terrain: the involvement in the POSK refurbishment, the running of the POSK Jazz Cafe, the care home for the elderly Kolbe House, the running of Polish food wholesale businesses, and many many other.
Overseeing this whole complex of our involvement in the trial was Rafal Demczuk, the son of a prominent SolidarIty member, who was imprisoned for his activities. We were in spellbound awe of both our legal team Metzer-Demczuk, and remain in their everlasting debt.
With best wishes for the New Year.
(Translation, Mirek Malevski, Ognisko Club Life Member, Chair of Ognisko Members' Forum, Chair of Fawley Court Old Boys).