The Tel Aviv District Court yesterday convicted two of the men who assaulted Aryeh Karp on the Tel Baruch beach promenade on August 2009 of manslaughter instead of murder. In addition, they were convicted of causing grave injury and assault in grievous circumstances.

Since the third defendant was a minor at the time of the assault, the court ruled that he committed the offenses but a probation service examination was required to convict him.

The judges said it had not been proved that the defendants - Jamil Adas, Abed Adas and the minor - had intended to cause Karp's death; therefore, they could not be convicted of murder but only of manslaughter.

Judges Nurit Ahituv, Miriam Diskin and Raanan Ben-Yosef wrote in their verdict: "We are convinced the defendants all (and apparently not only them ) attacked the deceased with brutal and relentless blows..."

"All the defendants together, as one satanic machine, used their arms and legs to strike the deceased...the witnesses' descriptions paint an unequivocal picture of a horrific ecstasy of violence, in which a group of youngsters attack with kicks, punches and beatings an elderly, helpless man...the deceased's voice can be heard begging for his life, asking for mercy, his pleas falling on deaf ears."

In order to convict the defendants of murder, the prosecution must be prove there was an intention to kill the victim, the judges said. "The defendants' desire for the deceased man's death was not proved, so it cannot be established they had decided to kill him," they wrote.

The judges criticized police for not summoning a pathologist to the scene immediately after finding Karp's body, not keeping Karp's clothes and not giving the defense all the photographs from the crime scene. "We believe the police's conduct is not without flaws and mistakes...their tendency to evade responsibility for every mistake is unworthy."

Karp's widow Sarah was furious with the verdict. "I'm in shock," she said. "If that's not murder, what is? They murdered an innocent man in front of me. It was cold-blooded murder."