Gamliel Vazanni, convicted of assault of a 65-year-old man, was sentenced last week, according to a plea bargain, to 400 hours of community service and monetary compensation to his victim in the amount of NIS 5,000 (roughly $1,380).
The Rehovot Magistrates Court Judge Yaron Levy said that "if it weren’t for the plea bargain, I would have sentenced the defendant to imprisonment. I approve the plea bargain reluctantly."
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"It’s a big disappointment," the victim said of what he perceived to be too mild a punishment. "He attacked me for no reason… these plea bargains are a joke."
The victim added that ever since the incident he has been afraid to leave his house.
Over the last few months, many assaults of senior citizens have come to the media's attention and Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich and Police Chief Yohanan Danino both stressed that such attacks will be severely punished.
The police nonetheless signed the plea bargain with Vazanni last week.
According to the indictment, Vazanni attacked the 65-year-old man who was walking his dog near the suspect's house. The suspect accused the senior citizen of allowing his dog to defecate near Vazanni's residence and punched the victim in the shoulder, then pushed him to the ground.
Dr. Dana Fogach, chairwoman of the Noga Center for Rights of Crime Victims, said that the plea bargain was an additional punishment to the victims. "This is one of many plea bargains, which punish the victims, sometimes just as badly as the violence they initially endured."
"The justice system must ask itself what kind of message it sends to those who were victims of a crime through such embarrassing penalties for violence and humiliation," Fogach proclaimed.
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