The witness
Photo: Moti Kimchi

Legalists: State in jam following Holyland witness' death

Unexpected death of key witness in case pending against former PM Olmert may mean court would have to deem testimony inadmissible

The death of the State witness in the Holyland corruption case pending against former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, has left the prosecution in a lurch, legal experts told Ynet Saturday.


The witness, 75, died Friday, just hours after testifying and enduring a grueling cross-examination by the defense.


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Several legal experts said that given the circumstances – and the fact that the testimony will remain incomplete – the court must rule that it is inadmissible and strike it from the record.


Other legalists said that the State Prosecutor's Office would be wise to withdraw the indictment altogether.


Attorney Yair Regev, formally head of the Police International Fraud Unit, said that the court has to disqualify the testimony, as Olmert is standing trial in the case alongside 13 other defendants, and not all of them have been able to cross-examine the witness prior to his death.


ש"ד בבית המשפט עם אולמרט  (צילום: מוטי קמחי)

(Photo: Moti Kimchi)


"The law mandates that the defense be allowed to cross-examine the witness. Since there is no legal precedent regarding a partial testimony, the judge has to rule that the testimony is inadmissible."


Top legalist Attorney Moti Katz agreed, saying that the chances that the court would allow a partial testimony into the record "is zero." Katz stressed, however, that disqualifying the testimony does not spell an automatic acquittal for Olmert.


"If the State has other evidence that the outcome of the trial could be different, but from what we have seen so far – that is not the case.


Both Regev and Katz estimated that the Prosecution would opt to withdraw the indictment. "Any other move would do a disservice to justice and this may be the only thing the Prosecution can do to save face," Katz said.


Criminalist Attorney Moshe Sherman added: "The prosecution is in deep trouble. This was the key testimony that was supposed to clinch the trial of a former prime minister… The only option here is to withdraw the indictment."



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פרסום ראשון: 03.02.13, 19:02
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