Comptroller unimpressed by official conduct
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Comptroller slams handling of Ramon case

Lindenstrauss slams negligence in respect to wiretapped information in Ramon affair, says personal conclusions against senior officials should be considered

State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss issued a scathing report Monday regarding wiretapping in the kissing affair involving former Minister Haim Ramon.


The Ramon affair involved him kissing an IDF officer against her will on the first day of the 2006 Lebanon War. The woman later filed a complaint over the case, and Ramon was convicted of performing an indecent act.  

Former Minister Haim Ramon (Photo: Gilad Kvalerchik)


The comptroller said that personal conclusions should be considered in respect to police and prosecution officials involved in the case, including former head of the Fraud Investigation Unit Miri Golan, head of special investigative team Eran Kamin, and Tel Aviv District Prosecutor Ruth David (who petitioned the High Court of Justice over the case.)


Ramon said after the report's publication that a criminal investigation must follow "in order to check whether those involved in the affair had malicious intentions".


In his response to the report the former minister wrote, "The comptroller does indeed mention that no malicious intent was detected, he doesn't have the tools to investigate whether things were done maliciously or innocently."


Ramon added, "In many cases negligence counts as a criminal violation. In any case, this is the first time the comptroller report contains such personal and explicit personal findings."


However police and the prosecution seemed pleased with the report. "The comptroller… thoroughly rejected all claims that were brought against the former state prosecutor and prosecution officials who handled the case," the State Prosecutor's Office stated in response to the report.


'Personal failure by officials'  

Wiretapped information related to the Ramon affair was not handed over to his defense attorneys and was ignored by prosecution officials, in contradiction of regulations. The comptroller said that District Prosecutor David signed the indictment without first reviewing the wiretapped material as required. She proceeded to submit the indictment without considering all the relevant information in the affair, he said.


The comptroller was asked by the government to look into wiretapping in the case. Lindenstrauss said he indeed found significant wrongdoing, "which stemmed mostly from personal failure by officials and failure to adhere to the rules…rather than an organizational failure."


"Actions were not taken maliciously, yet it's clear that we are dealing with substantive negligence by those involved in the case," he said.


Lindenstrauss said that the failures in the case amounted to a failure to respect Ramon's rights.


"It is mandatory to safeguard the accused individual's rights and present to him any information collected against him, as not to undermine his defense and allow him to respond to the material," he wrote, but noted that the magistrate's court ruled that "the harm to the accused was not significant."


Meanwhile, the comptroller also gave a general overview of wiretapping in which he reveals that courts have approved 99% of wiretapping appeals made by police. Just 51 of 6,494 requests were denied, the report says.


The law requires that appeals for wiretapping be handed to the court signed by a police officer with a rank of commander or higher. Because the defendant is not present at the proceedings, the court is obligated

to take special care of his rights and to approve the appeal only if it is convinced that the process is necessary.


As a rule, the comptroller sees wiretapping as an important source of information, but many attorney generals and former comptrollers have warned that the police makes use of this resource not only to directly tap the suspect on the suspected crime, but also to gather intelligence on possible future violations.


Yaron Druckman contributed to the story


פרסום ראשון: 06.28.10, 16:46
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