Olmert. Problematic document
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Hadar Saltzman
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Court slams prosecution in Olmert affair

Jerusalem District Court president criticizes prosecution over problematic document given to witness in former prime minster's Rishon Tours case

President of the Jerusalem District Court Musia Arad on Thursday slammed the prosecution's conduct, after a document prepared by the prosecution containing questions and answers for Hadar Saltzman, a witness in the Rishon Tours case came to light.


"You said this was a refresher," the judge told the prosecution, "That these are exact quotes with references, but we do not view it this way, there is paraphrasing here without references."


On Wednesday, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's attorneys sent a letter of complaint to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein demanding that he open an investigation into the matter.


Judge Arad told the prosecution, "If you wanted to show it to the witness because she did not want to read the transcripts, then you should have quoted from the transcripts, why make such an arrangement? How did this document come to be?"


Attorney Uri Korev of the prosecution said in response, "The document came following the witness' refusal to read from the transcripts, most of the document is not paraphrasing, the vast majority of the document is quotes. We believe the document is not misleading and also includes statements that represent the other side. This has not caused any damage."


Thursday's court session focused on the document in question, and Attorney Navit Negev showed the witness that it includes certain statements that she did not make to the police, but were still written in the document. She also noted that there were inaccuracies in the responses written by the prosecution in the document.


'Matter blown out of proportion'

After the session, Jerusalem District Attorney Eli Abarbanel said, "This matter has been blown out of proportion, the document that the defense has called 'the question and answer document' contains statements made by the witness herself. It includes accurate quotes and certified paraphrases that can be verified, this is not a problem.


"This material includes statements by the witness that the prosecution disagrees with and they were still included in the document, which shows there is no desire to plant things in the witnesses' head, as has been claimed.


"The document was given to the witness only after she refused an offer to review the material," Abarbanel added. "The paper that was given to her is not the paper that the prosecution planned to hand over, it is a later version that also includes the questions and the paraphrases. We believe no damage was caused to the weight of the witness' statements."


Shula Zaken's attorney, Micha Patman, called on the police to launch an investigation into the matter. "An internal examination in the prosecution may not be the best way to investigate…I believe the court's remarks are severe ones, and criminal offenses should be investigated by an authorized body, which is the Israel Police," he said.


"The court today issued a red card against the prosecution for its conduct and instructed it not to act in this manner in the future"


פרסום ראשון: 06.24.10, 19:29
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