Policeman lied, detainee awarded 10,000 NIS in compensation

Sunday, October 7, 2018, 13:31 The Jerusalem Magistrates Court ruled that there had been “negligence and a breach of duty of care”, and awarded 10,000 NIS in compensation to a detainee about whom a policeman had submitted false information to a judge. The detainee was a guest at a wedding in December 2015 – which came to be known as the ‘Wedding of Hate’ – at which participants were seen waving and slashing photographs of the infant who died in the July 2015 arson incident in Kfar Duma.
The deliberation at which the policeman was negligent took place three weeks after the ‘Wedding of Hate’. The police requested that several participants in the wedding be detained and the requests were handled one-sidedly before Jerusalem Magistrate Court Judge Gioia Skappa-Shapiro. Only the policeman making the request, Tal Mizrahi from the Central Unit of Yehuda and Shomron Police, and Judge Skappa-Shapiro herself were present. There was no representative of the suspects and there was no defense attorney present on their behalf.
In the minutes of the deliberation, and also in over ten deliberations in the cases of other suspects, the reply by the policeman to the question by the judge as to why there was a need for a remand warrant for the suspects is recorded: “From experience with previous cases it is difficult to locate the suspect and have him report to interrogations. He did not report to previous interrogations.” The statement is not true for most of the suspects.
In light of the mendacious statement, one of the suspects, Neve Tal, decided to sue the State of Israel for false detention. In his suit, which was filed on behalf of the suspect by Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado, Tal claimed that the information submitted about him was false and that the detention order was part of several identical orders which the judge authorized on the same day, without checking their justifiability.
Jerusalem Magistrates Court Judge Ophir Yehezkel accepted the suit and ruled that the policeman had been negligent: There has been “… negligence and a breach of duty of care conceptually and concretely towards the suspect.” In his verdict Judge Yehezkel censured the policeman because he had not seen fit to verify his claims before requesting remand orders. In the end he ruled that the police were guilty of submitting erroneous information which resulted in the false detention of Tal, and that the police must compensate Tal with 10,000 NIS, in addition to legal expenses and attorney’s fees.
At the courthouse the policeman attempted to place the blame on the judge and claimed that he had not said those things and that the matter was of a technical or a typographical error, and that he had spoken in general about groups of suspects, and not about Tal specifically. The claim was rejected by the court which ruled that the policeman was negligent and did not state facts.
A complaint about the conduct of the judge at the deliberation was filed with the Ombudsman of the Israeli Judiciary, who found the complaint to be justified, and censured her for creating the impression that the court is a rubber stamp for requests by the police to authorize detention warrants wholesale.
Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado, who represented the defendant both in the suit and with the complaint against the judge, stated that, “The judge and the policeman were in the courtroom in the absence of the suspect and any attorney representing him, and worked hand in hand to issue 12 detention warrants to citizens, virtually all of which were not legal. After their handling of the case was exposed, policeman placed the blame on the judge and the judge placed the blame on the policeman. After the struggle we waged, the Ombudsman of the Israeli Judiciary ruled and told the judge that she was guilty, and in a civil suit against the policeman the court ruled that the policeman has responsibility.”
Yado added that the case exemplified a general phenomenon: “This is a very serious incident, which raises a serious and general problem of lies during the procedures of detention which are judged in a one-sided forum without review. The incident also raises weighty questions concerning the function of the policeman with the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police. The judge was taken care of by the Ombudsman, but the policeman unfortunately has received backing from the police and the Attorney General’s office. It is not clear to us how the Jerusalem District Attorney’s office is continuing to back the policeman even after it was ruled that he had lied.”

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