Mr. Szal had been in custody since October 2016 and was falsely accused and wrongly convicted of Murder in December 2017. He was convicted by a jury that the Court of Appeal found were mislead as to the character of a then co-defendant, Grzegorz Grzybek. Grzybek had blamed Mr. Szal and his co-defendant Patryk Pachecka for the murder of Grzegorz Pietrycki, a young man living in Wood Green. The Prosecution had failed to discover previous convictions for Mr. Grzybek in Poland and he was able to put himself forward as a man of good character. In addition, the police, crime scene officers, pathologists and experts misunderstood the crime scene and blood spatter evidence at the time. They assumed that Mr. Pietrycki had been murdered in the front bedroom of the flat he lived in but managed to stagger around the corner where he collapsed. In fact Mr Grzybek had begun an attack and then followed Mr. Pietrycki to an alleyway around the corner where he stabbed him through the neck with a knife. Prior to the appeal Pathologists from Ireland and Germany reviewed the evidence and saw that Mr. Pietrycki had not been fatally injured in the flat but had fled and been stabbed around the corner behind the house where he was found slumped and bleeding to death. CCTV showed someone that could only be Mr. Grzybek following Mr. Pietrycki shortly before fatally injuring him with a knife. At the re-trial all pathologists and blood spatter experts ultimately agreed that Mr. Pietrycki had been stabbed around the corner and that investigators at the time had made crucial mistakes.
Having been in custody for more than 5 years Mr. Szal broke down in tears in the dock as he was acquitted. Both his and Mr. Pachecka’s assertion in 2017 that it was Mr. Grzybek who was responsible for the killing was vindicated. Grzegorz Grzybek was freed in July 2018 after the Prosecution offered no evidence against him. This followed the jury being unable to reach a verdict in his case for the second time. Grzybek had put himself forward for a second time as a man of good character.