Yesterday's decision by Attorney General Menachem Mazuz to close the case against the prime minister and his son Gilad due to evidentiary material that "suffers from weaknesses in each of the charge's components" is a "strong" complete acquittal that frees the prime minister from the slightest shadow of suspicion.
Mazuz purportedly based the closure of the Greek island affair and the Ginaton land deal on "lack of sufficient evidence," which is used when the evidence leaves a reasonable doubt concerning a suspect's innocence. However, a perusal of Mazuz's detailed opinion and his determination that "the evidence in this case does not bring us even close to a reasonable chance of conviction" indicate that in fact, the case was closed due to "lack of blame," which is used for evidence upon which a reasonable person would not rely to determine whether suspicion is well-founded.
As made clear in a recent court ruling, the "lack of blame" grounds are designed to prevent even the appearance of lingering doubt regarding the innocence of someone under suspicion, which then could cause the suspect unnecessary harm. For some reason, the attorney general settled for closing the case "due to a lack of sufficient evidence," even though his decision leaves no room for doubt, not just that the prime minister is as pure as snow, but former State Prosecutor Edna Arbel's recommendation to indict him on charges of receiving a bribe is utterly unfounded.
As Mazuz said, the charge rested on generalizations and circumstantial evidence. Such criticism of the former State Prosecutor and her team, which included senior officials from her office who are experts on criminal law, constitutes a serious indictment. It is likely that his critique will make the attorney general blanch. Mazuz's remarks in his briefing to legal reporters concerning the targeting of the prime minister by the leader of the State Prosecutor's team, and which reflected on the entire team, will echo long after the initial echoes of this affair have faded, if ever.
What is most surprising is that in his 75-page decision, Mazuz settled for merely mentioning the fact that the State Prosecutor recommended indicting Sharon. Classifying the State Prosecutor's reasonings in this manner directly contravenes the Supreme Court's ruling of two weeks ago in an appeal filed by Haaretz against the Tel Aviv District Court's ruling justifying the Justice Ministry's gag order on publishing Arbel's opinion in support of indicting former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Amadi affair. The Supreme Court ruled that once the attorney general has noted the existence of a contrary opinion by an official such as a State Prosecutor, he is obligated to publish a summary of the opinion. That ruling applies to the attorney general himself, and he did not fulfill his obligation yesterday.
The blackout imposed by the attorney general on Arbel's opinion lays the foundation for petitioning the High Court to demand that he publish the opinion and draft indictment that Arbel gave him. Such a petition could be based on the Freedom of Information Law and its inherent principles as well as on the recent Court ruling. Only if the opinion and the evidence on which it was based are made public, will it be possible to determing whether Mazuz's decision was reasonable, since it cannot be evaluated in its own right without examining the relevant evidence in its entirety.
Revealing the State Prosecutor's contrary opinion in a previous case will pave the way for going before the High Court with a charge alleging that that the attorney general's decision was extremely unreasonable, for only in such a case does the High Court intervene in administrative or quasi-judicial decisions.
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