Judge Judith Shevach
Photo: The Israeli Courts Website
Seven year sentence - Katsav
Photo: Ido Erez
'Pathetic' statements - Menachem Mazuz
Photo: Ido Erez

Judge criticizes Mazuz in Katsav case

Judith Shevach claims former attorney general overstepped authority in Katsav case. 'Premature judgment of defendant prior to trial didn't come from thin air'

Judge Judith Shevach, the dissenting opinion among judges at the Katsav sentencing, leveled harsh criticism at former Attorney General Menachem Mazuz on Tuesday. "If the attorney general already decided in 2006-7 that Katsav was a serial sexual offender – why should the public wait until the indictment is presented and the verdict is issued?," she said.  


During the sentencing, Shevach, who sought to sentence Katsav to four years in prison rather than the seven sought by the other judges, was critical of Mazuz: "Premature judgment of the defendant by the public before the trial didn't come from thin air and was simply a direct result of the pathetic and needless statements made by the attorney general and other elected representatives."


She further noted that before it was decided whether to indict Katsav "the attorney general thought it right to publicly declare that the 'possibility that this is a case of libel is rather slim' and that 'apparently this is a man who has for years behaved as a serial sex offender'".


She added: "The attorney general is not supposed to operate in the public arena…"


The media didn't emerge unscathed either. "The field trial conducted against the defendant by the public was a direct result of the swift trial conducted by the media parallel to the trial held in the courts, in which he was convicted long before the court followed suit, all with the aid and massive support of tendentious leaks which no one has answered for."


It is for these reasons, explained Shevach that she believes Katsav's punishment should have been mitigated: "The court has no control over the attorney general, the law enforcement authorities, the media or even the public.

Katsav in court (Photo: Yaron Brener)


"The only tool the court has when it wishes to take the above mentioned issues into consideration in the case of the accused, who should have been able to enjoy being innocent until proven guilty is in taking his punishment into consideration by significantly mitigating the sentence."


The judge also mentioned the complainants in the Katsav case: "The complainants, especially A. from the Tourism Ministry will not find salvation in the fact that the defendant will remain in prison for a few extra years, rather they will yield greater benefits if the prison sentence were shorter and the compensation increased, which would help them in the rehabilitation process."


In her summary, the judge wrote that she would have sentenced Katsav to four years in prison but increased the compensation to the complainants – NIS 200,000 ($56,605) to A. from the Tourism Ministry and NIS 50,000 ($14,151) to L. from the President's Residence.



פרסום ראשון: 03.22.11, 15:09
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