Beinisch tells police: Another man who threatened me was also in the courtroom
When Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch was attacked on Wednesday, another man suspected of threatening her in the past was sitting in the courtroom, Beinisch told police after the incident.
A Jerusalem man was indicted yesterday for hurling a pair of shoes at Beinisch Wednesday.
The State Prosecutor expedited the indictment process against Pini Cohen, 52, after the suspect confessed to the act and a number of witnesses verified his identity. If convicted, the prosecution will demand a penalty of at least three years in prison.
The presidents of Magistrate and District courts throughout the country met with Beinisch yesterday in the Supreme Court to demonstrate their support.
Beinisch told police that on Wednesday morning she saw a man in court who had once been questioned by police on suspicion of having threatened to harm her. She said the security guards also spotted him.
The attack, however, came from another direction. She said she saw a man rise suddenly and throw a sports shoe at her. The force of the blow was such that she fell off her seat.
Beinisch said she did not know her attacker, Cohen, and did not know if she had ever presided over a case involving him. In fact, Cohen had been removed from Beinisch's court four months ago after shouting and acting wildly during the session.
One of the shoes Cohen hurled on Wednesday hit Beinisch in the face, breaking her glasses and wounding her lightly. Cohen was immediately arrested and later charged with assault, injury and contempt of court.
The first witness for the prosecution will be Beinisch herself.
The police prosecutor, who asked the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court to extend Cohen's remand, said that unless he is kept in custody he might repeat his acts or do something worse.
The prosecutor went on to say the defendant has a record of violent attacks, eight convictions and two prison sentences, one for attacking his lawyer Aryeh Rosenberg.
"For years, the courts handed Cohen light penalties despite his convictions for violent acts," he said. "The severity of his attack on the Supreme Court president at the heart of Israel's temple of justice goes far beyond the concrete injury to the victim. The courts and judges constitute the epitome of the rule of law. Any attack or strike on them or contempt for them undermines the police and reflects grave moral and ideological failure."
The Magistrate extended Cohen's remand by five days, during which time it will be decided whether he will remain in custody until the end of the proceedings against him.
To demonstrate the Cohen posed a threat, the prosecutor cited statements Cohen made at a court debate in 2006. "I sometimes hear on the radio that a husband murdered his wife, then committed suicide - so I don't want to be released, I don't want to slip," Cohen had said.
Cohen's lawyers said he threw his shoes at Beinisch "as an act of protest" but did not intend to hurt her. They said he wants to remain in custody - also as a protest.
Beinisch was hearing an unrelated case on Wednesday morning when Cohen entered the courtroom, sat down and asked the woman sitting next to him whether Beinisch was the presiding justice. When the woman confirmed this, he took off his shoes and threw them at the Supreme Court president.
As the courtroom guards grabbed him and led him away, he screamed at Beinisch, "You're a corrupt creature of Philip Marcus. The two of you destroyed my life!"