Concerns of bias in the investigation of Ahuvia Sandak’s death

Ahuvia Sandak, z”l

See here for a list of posts connected to the case.
Tuesday, January 12, 2021, 10:52 There are numerous concerns regarding the impartiality of the investigation into the death of Ahuvia Sandak, z”l.
In a letter to the Supreme Court regarding the investigation into the death of Ahuvia Sandak, z”l, Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado repeatedly warned that the fact that the policemen investigating are people of interest and that the investigation is divided between two departments “in practice violates the rights of the civilian suspects.”
Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado submitted an update to the Supreme Court with regards to the petition filed against the Central Unit of the Tel Aviv Police over the death of Ahuvia Sandak. The update concerns two topics which damaged the impartiality of the investigation: the detention of a policeman on 10/1/2021 and its grounds, and the deliberation on the remand of the youths on 10/1/2021.
Concerning the detention of the policeman, Yado wrote: “On the day of 10/1/2021, the media publicized that the PIU had detained a policeman who had given his version of events to the journalist Kalman Liebskind. The article in question had already been published on 1/1/2021, ten days before the detention.” Last Wednesday, six days prior to the detention, Yado wrote a letter to the Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Affairs, Shlomo (Mumi) Lemberger, relating to the version of events that the policeman had given to the newspaper.
In the letter he mentioned the complaint that he had filed with the PIU on the same day and detailed the content of the complaint: “The policeman told the newspaper that before they began the car chase, they entered the license plate number of the [youths’] car for a check and found that the car belonged to an unknown person from Bat Ayin. This information, if the policeman’s version of events is correct, was not transferred to the court, despite the fact that it was required to be transferred at the deliberation on the remand of one of the suspects, at which the policemen claimed that the suspect owned the car and that he was driving it at the time of the accident.”
Yado objected and said that information such as this must not be concealed from the court by the policemen, because the concealment caused an extension of the remand: “The complaint was filed in order to investigate the policemen who had concealed this information.” Yado added that the detention of the policeman was meant to stop the disruption of proceedings. However the main issue as far as he was concerned was to stop the positive bias inherent in having policemen investigating other policemen.
Concerning the minutes from the January 10, 2021 deliberation on the request to extend the minors’ remand, Yado wrote, “The minutes repeatedly mention the same two problems in the work of the special [police] investigation team, as follows: the connection of the policemen to the subject of the investigation and the artificial division of the investigation into two units, which interferes with the work of the defense attorney and the investigation team.”
In a letter to the Supreme Court Yado stated that the minutes are tainted by the excessive and decisive accusation by the investigators from the Central Unit of the Tel Aviv Police against the civilians. Yado quoted the investigators from the minutes with regards to their treatment of the civilians being investigated: “And this is in order to extricate themselves from the terrible crime that they committed.” Yado wrote: “Slandering the civilians, even before the final opinion of the police traffic inspector was submitted, and contrary to the conclusion of the traffic inspector brought by the civilians, expresses nothing other than pinning the accusation on the youths and removing it from the policemen.”
“This is a natural direction for a police investigation of suspicions against policemen, and this direction should have been prevented by the arrangement set by law on the matter of investigating the crime by only the Police Investigation Unit,” wrote Yado, who added that “concerning the request for remand, the accident is still described as an independent overturning by the youths. In the request, the ‘insignificant’ detail that the police car hit the civilians’ car before it overturned is not mentioned.
Throughout the letter Yado explained why dividing the investigation damaged it and how the damage could have been prevented if the investigation were entirely in the hands of the PIU: “The problem is with how the investigating policemen identify with their colleagues in the police and also with the division of the investigating unit into two heads. There is a problem with the connection of the investigating authority to the investigation and also a problem with the division of the special investigating team into two units that negatively impacts the investigation and in practice violates the rights of the civilian suspects and hampers the ability of their attorney to defend them.”
In conclusion, Yado wrote “The claims have already been raised, however between filing the petition and the deliberation, the negative behavior against which we warned when we filed the petition, has been repeated and has been expressed in deliberations and in the conduct of the investigating unit in the framework of which the police are being investigated.”

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