C'tee Passes Bill on Unjust Indictments

Yuval Yoaz
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Yuval Yoaz

The Ministerial Committee on Legislation yesterday approved a bill that would permit a court to invalidate an indictment if it reaches the conclusion that prosecution of the defendant would be contradictory to the basic values of justice.

MK Gideon Saar (Likud), the sponsor of the bill, announced that it will be submitted to the Knesset plenum for a preliminary reading on Wednesday.

An identical bill proposed by Saar in the previous Knesset session was approved about 18 months ago by the same committee at the time, but was not passed. The legislation is supported by the Knesset committee responsible for amending the Criminal Code, which is headed by Supreme Court Justice Miriam Naor.

The principle anchored in the bill is recognized in criminal law literature and has served as the basis for Supreme Court rulings, although the state prosecution and the police prosecution oppose it.

The doctrine was first recognized in the "bankers' trial" of the 1990s, and since then it been used as grounds for voiding indictments in a number of cases when the courts concluded that the law enforcement agencies were unfairly persecuting a suspect.

Passage of the law would permit greater supervision by the state's prosecutors, which will ensure that defendants are treated in accordance with the principles of justice. At present the principle is applied infrequently because of the stringent criteria for doing so, as set by the Supreme Court.

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