Court Okays Hearing by Video-conference

The Supreme Court will admit testimony by video-conferencing so witnesses who are afraid to come to Israel will not have to make the trip, the court decided this week.

Ben-Zion Citrin
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Ben-Zion Citrin

The Supreme Court will admit testimony by video-conferencing so witnesses who are afraid to come to Israel will not have to make the trip, the court decided this week.

The Supreme Court approved this unorthodox testimony as part of an intellectual property case pending before the Tel Aviv District Court. An English pharmaceutical company, Smith Kline Beecham (SKB), has filed suit against an Israeli company, Unipharm, for violating its intellectual property rights. SKB was represented by Luthi & Co Law Offices, and Unipharm by Advocate Adi Levitt.

SKB, which is part of the Glaxo-Smith-Klein corporation, manufactures Seroxat, an antidepressant that sells successfully around the world.

Hearings were set for last March, but in the preceding weeks there was a series of terror attacks, and two of the prosecution witnesses, both scientists, said they would not go to Israel. The plaintiff then filed a motion to hold the hearing by video-conferencing, but the District Court denied the motion, arguing that granting it would be "injurious to the extensive daily effort in keeping things normal in Israel.

SKB then appealed the decision, and Justice Dalia Dorner reversed the decision and decided to allow testimony by video conferencing.

"Under the circumstances, the correct balance between the competing interests at stake requires that the testimony be heard in the cross-examination by video-conferencing. This would be better than not allowing these testimonies in at all," the decision stated.

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