Kirkcaldy filmmaker facing court in Poland

Tom Motyka (picture by George McLuskie)
Tom Motyka (picture by George McLuskie)

An award-nominated Kirkcaldy filmmaker is being extradited to his native Poland this week to face trial for alleged fraud, despite claiming his innocence.

Tom Motyka is being pursued for payment of around £600 rent from 2000, relating to a distribution firm in Warsaw of which he was an employee/manager for five years.

The fraud charge, however, is being regarded as a criminal matter rather than a civil one under Polish law, and the 43-year-old father of two daughters has launched an appeal to help with his legal costs in eastern Europe.

The firm was owned by Tom’s ex-wife, who was previously tried and acquitted of the charge – but now the authorities are pursuing him.

Tom, who denies liability, is due to be sent back this weekend and expects a period of detention, possibly for three months or more, before the case comes to court.

His legal representatives in Scotland said the particular terms of the European arrest warrant could not be challenged.

But they believed a measure previously designed to bring serious organised criminals and terrorists to justice was now being used to define a civil matter as a criminal one.

No Scottish court would treat an alleged non-payment of rent like it as a criminal complaint, they added.

Tom, originally from Gorzow in western Poland, has been living in Scotland since 2006. He stayed previously in St Monans and worked in a St Andrews restaurant.

Always interested in film and “people stories”, he started a small video production firm and then studied at Fife College and Napier University, where he obtained a degree.

Three years ago, he made a documentary entitled After The Crash, about the Moorgate tube train disaster in 1975. It was nominated in the best factual category at the BAFTA Scotland New Talent Awards in 2015.

Most recently, Tom has been working on a series of programmes exploring the links between Poland and Scotland. He said he would need a “strong, professional lawyer” when he got to Poland, adding: “I am just hoping to get out of the prison and resume my life here in Scotland, which is brilliant.”

Hear more about Tom’s campaign

Tom has posted a two-and-a-half-minute video on YouTube in which he outlines his dilemma and professes his love for both his native and adopted countries, saying he was “born in Poland but made in Scotland”.

However, he is critical of aspects of Polish law, surviving from an old communist state, which he claims are “unjust” and not fit for the 21st century.

During the presentation, he appeals for “a good word” or “a spare pound” in his campaign.