Suspect at remand hearing
Photo: Gil Yohanan

'Starving mother' put under house arrest

Jerusalem Magistrate's Court places woman suspected of starving toddler son under house arrest, allows her to see her children – excluding three-year-old one who is still hospitalized. District Court judge denies State's appeal

Jerusalem Magistrate's Court Judge Shulamit Dotan placed the mother suspected of starving her son under house arrest and ruled that she can see her children.


However, the judge did not allow the mother to see the son she is suspected of starving, who is currently hospitalized, until the end of her remand on August 5.


It was also ruled that the child may be transferred from Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital to another institution.


The judge ruled that "there is enough evidence for an indictment" and said that "with regards to the child, the evidence strongly contradicts the psychiatrist Dr. Yakov Weil's evaluation."


The judge also decided to allow the child to be transferred from Hadassah to another institution, stating that despite the psychiatrist's evaluation and "in light of the evidence it seems there are grounds that the defendant may pose a danger to the child."


After viewing the material and watching footage filmed in the hospital of the mother disconnecting tubes from her child, the judge said, "The investigative material indicates that certain offences may have also been carried out against other children in the family."


But the judge criticized the police, saying they "should have carried out a thorough and comprehensive investigation into the suspicions of acts being carried out against other children in the family".


She added, "It seems to me, from reading the material, that what was done in the matter was very superficial and does not constitute a sufficient basis to order her detainment for the duration of the investigation.


"A statement here and a statement there, in a general and meaningless way without things being clarified and backed with other evidence that should be found in the relevant places, is insufficient at the point where the defendant was already subject to a prolonged arrest and released under limited conditions some eight days ago."

Suspect in court with lawyer (Photo: Dudi Vaaknin)


The verdict was given behind closed doors, and after leaving the courtroom, the mother's attorney, David Halevy said it was yet to be decided whether the child will be transferred to the care of a family member or another medical center.


He said the judge criticized the police and prosecution for not accepting psychiatrist Yakov Weil's report.


Judge: Will she drown kids in bathtub?

A few hours later, District Court Judge Rafi Carmel denied the State's appeal against the decision to put the woman under house arrest. According to the judge, the case "has gone out of proportions" and must be returned to the right proportions.


Justice Carmel told the State Prosecutor's Office representative, Attorney Maayan Rimon, "Assuming that what we have seen on the child is the mother's work. I don’t see the danger for the other children when she is accompanied by an adult. What will she do? Drown the children in the bathtub?"


On, Thursday, as the Jerusalem district psychiatrist rejected the psychiatric evaluation filed with the capital's Magistrate's Court by Dr. Yaakov Weil, the psychiatrist appointed to the case, as "inconclusive."


The district psychiatrist informed the court that while he agreed with Weil's conclusion that the woman did not suffer from Münchausen Syndrome by proxy, he did not share Weil's determination as to how dangerous the woman may be to her surroundings.


According to the mother's attorney, Dotan did not condition the her return home with her children on an investigation by the child services.


The father has already committed to taking the children to a child investigator three times in the past, but has failed to do so despite claims made by the police and prosecution that they had evidence that two other children may have also suffered abuse.


Dudi Zilbershlag, a friend of the family said, "The fact that the mother will be able to see her children is already a great achievement. We hope this happens before Shabbat. The prosecution made a serious mistake yesterday when it criticized the psychiatrist's report."


פרסום ראשון: 07.24.09, 12:40
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