A Safed Magistrate’s Court judge order charges of reckless driving dismissed against a young Safed man who sustained severe injuries when he ran his motorcycle into a curb, but injured no one else.
The 20-year-old has only recently finished a long period of rehabilitation following his accident three years ago. The accident required him to undergo a series of operations and left him partially handicapped.
Although no one else was injured in the accident and no other damage was caused, four months ago the police prosecutor brought charges against the driver in order, he said, to serve “as a warning” to others.
Judge Bassam Kandaleft accepted the argument by the accident victim’s public defender, Yaniv Mahor, who said the charges should be dropped because they went against basic justice. Pursuing these charges, the judge said in his ruling “opposes the essence of the principles of justice and judicial fairness. This is a case that clearly justifies that the charges should be dropped.”
In his ruling, the judge said: “I wondered what else a driver needed to avoid committing the offenses attributed to the accused in this case. Is it not enough that he was 17 at the time of the accident, with his whole future ahead of him, to find himself one terrible day a broken man and handicapped for the rest of this life? You can’t help wondering what public interest this process serves against the accused, except pure cruelty.”
Manor described his client as a “broken man,” who before the accident had been socially active and looking forward to serving in the army, which he cannot now do. “I have never seen such insensitivity by the system,” he said. “There is no chance that he will ever be able to ride a motorcycle again, as he is permanently paralyzed in his right arm and now drives a car outfitted for the handicapped.”
Manor harshly criticized the prosecution, saying that the “indictment was not based on testimony or a report of the police traffic-accident investigator, but rather on a principle invoked in some cases that “it is reasonable to assume that the accident was the fault of the driver.”
Manor also expressed his surprise that charges were brought so long after the accident.
The police prosecutor told the court in response that “the fact that the accused is the only victim is merely by chance,” and said that charges had been delayed because of limited human resources in the prosecution’s Safed branch and a heavy work load.
“This is not a reason to stop legal proceedings in a case where there is a public interest in prosecution as a warning to others,” she said.