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Honenu demands reopening of case

Wednesday, August 24, 2016, 17:00 Honenu has demanded the re-opening of an attempted vehicle theft case. Honenu Attorney Menasheh Yado is representing the complainant, a Jerusalem resident who was injured during an attempted robbery by Arabs in the Ramot neighborhood. Based on material transferred to Honenu, Yado is of the opinion that the investigative case was closed under strange circumstances and due to mishandling, which violated the rights of the injured party. Yado: “It is inconceivable that a crime victim must turn to the services of an attorney in order to receive the most basic rights granted to him by law.” Recently a rash of thefts in Israel made headlines after a resident of Moshav Beit Elazari shot a thief attempting to steal his truck. Has police mishandling of the crimes led to this increase in thefts? Recently Honenu filed a request to re-open an investigative case into the injury and attempted theft incident in Ramot, which occurred approximately five and a half years ago. The complainant, a resident of the Jerusalem Ramot neighborhood, returned home after evening prayers and noticed two youths cutting the cable of his son’s trailer. His son was employed as a deliveryman and parked his vehicle next to their home. The complainant started to yell and the two youths quickly got into their pickup truck. In a split-second decision he jumped onto the truck and yelled, “Stop!,” but the thieves continued to drive, dragging him on the street, because he could not get off of the truck. After being dragged several hundred meters while shouting for help, he fell to the street and miraculously suffered only superficial injuries. First aid and police forces were summoned to the site. After giving initial testimony and receiving medical treatment he filed a complaint at the Neveh Ya’akov Police Station. The thieves’ vehicle was found abandoned on a nearby street. The complainant positively identified the vehicle and told the police that he would be able to identify the thieves in a lineup. The complainant told Honenu that the investigators assured him that he would be summoned to identify the thieves. Since then the complainant has phoned the police station many times in order to verify the status of his complaint. At some point he was told that suspects had been detained and was again assured that he would be summoned to identify the guilty parties in a lineup. However he was not. Later he was told that the case was still being investigated. Three years passed and then one day when the complainant contacted the station he was told that the case had been closed. He did not receive a letter informing him that the case was closed and the police did not initiate any other notification. When he asked the investigator how the case had been closed without him being summoned to identify suspects in a lineup, he was told that he could send a fax and request access to the material in the case for the purpose of filing an appeal in accordance with his rights as a crime victim. His repeated faxed and phoned requests for access to the material were not granted. Finally he decided to turn to Honenu’s Department of Crime victims for legal counsel. At this stage Honenu Attorney Menasheh Yado filed a request with the police to receive the investigative material. He was told that due to the length of time elapsed since the case had been closed the police were not obligated to allow him access to the material. Yado replied that that was true provided that a letter informing the complainant that the case was being closed had been sent and the complainant had not filed a complaint after being informed. In this instance a letter had not been sent and the complainant had not been given access to the investigative material. Only after Yado’s clarification did the Prosecution Department of the Jerusalem District Police reply to him that he was in the right and an order was given to transfer investigative material to him. After several more months had passed, five letters had been sent and a threat had been made to take the matter to court, the police finally agreed to transfer the investigative material to Honenu Attorney Yado for study, seven months after he requested it. The material transferred turned out to be incomplete, but did reveal that the suspects investigated in connection to the Ramot incident were the vehicle’s owner, other members of his family who fit the description given by the complainant, and a youth who was traced to the scene of the crime. The owner is an Arab from northern Jerusalem, a criminal convicted of violent crimes and property crimes. He claimed that the vehicle was with his older brother, an offender with an especially rich criminal record, at the time of the incident. The testimony given under interrogation by the youth contradicted that of the other suspects. All of the suspects were released and the case was closed without holding a lineup, despite the fact that the complainant testified that he would be able to identify the perpetrators. Honenu stresses that the suspects who were interrogated were accused only of the crimes of “conspiracy to commit a crime and attempted burglary,” not the more serious crimes of endangering human lives in a traffic lane and causing aggravated injury. After examining the investigative material Yado filed an appeal on the decision to close the case and demanded its reopening. The reply to the appeal was the same answer received in response to the request for the investigative material. The same prosecutor claimed that the case may not be reopened because of the length of time that has passed. Yado again asserted that an error had been made. Honenu is currently waiting for a reply from the prosecution. Honenu: “This is an unthinkable instance of the police acting powerless and treating a crime victim, the complainant, shamefully. The entire country is experiencing a rash of burglaries and thefts, particularly in the border communities. Only recently we saw what happened in Moshav Beit Elazari. However the police, instead of carrying out their work reliably, are disgracefully negligent, do not carry out basic operations, drag out investigations over years, and make miserable the life of an ordinary citizen who exhibited resourcefulness when faced with thieves. It is inconceivable that a crime victim must turn to the services of an attorney in order to receive the most basic rights granted to him by law.”

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