On Monday, in a ruling over an incident of tearing up the Bible by a Polish rockstar who goes by the stage name of Nergal, the Supreme Court of Poland held that a crime had been committed, even if the accused did not commit the act with the “direct intention” of offending anyone’s feelings. The Supreme Court of Poland had been asked for its opinion on the issue where during the trial in the lower court, lawyers for the accused argued that it was not possible for Adam Darski (Nergal) to have committed a crime as there was no mens rea.
Adam Darski aka Nergal is a lead member of the heavy metal group, Behemoth. He is accused of ripping up a copy of the Bible on stage during a concert in 2007, and of saying that the book was deceitful and the Roman Catholic Church, “a criminal sect.”
Poland, the home of the late Pope John Paul II, is considered to be one of the most religious countries of Europe. While Nergal’s supporters maintained that tearing up the Bible in public was an act of ‘artistic expression,’ his detractors claimed his act deliberately hurt the feelings of Catholics in Poland.
With the Supreme Court of Poland closing off the issue, it now depends upon the lower court to decide whether Darsky is to be held guilty or not. Though in Poland, a conviction for such a crime is extremely rare, the statute stipulates up to two years in jail, if convicted.
Ryszard Nowak, a former member of the parliament of Poland, who has been supporting the cause of finding Darsky guilty, told Polish television, “The Supreme Court saying clearly that there are limits for artists, which cannot be crossed.”
Despite being on trial for blasphemy, Darski remains popular enough to continue as one of the four judges on “The Voice of Poland,” a show broadcast on Poland’s public television.