Tel Aviv District Court Judge Oded Mudrik over the weekend rejected the fourth request by Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto, who is accused of bribing a senior police commander, to delay the reading of the indictment that is scheduled for tomorrow.
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The court had previously agreed to Pinto’s request to defer a scheduled hearing for a month so that, among other things, the prosecution could obtain a medical opinion to counter the one submitted by Pinto – to the effect that he cannot travel from New York to Israel for medical reasons. Now that Mudrik has made his decision, Pinto is expected to return for tomorrow’s hearing.
Pinto’s fourth request for a postponement was accompanied by a medical opinion stating that since he is expected to undergo an operation shortly, it would be best if he didn’t travel during the preceding few weeks.
The prosecution presented its own expert medical opinion, which determined that there “is no medical reason preventing the flight and arrival from New York on the scheduled date.” The prosecutor’s physician added that the defense expert gave no reason for the urgency of performing the surgery now.
Mudrik was critical of the defense’s medical opinion. “The accused does not have the status of a regular person who has a choice of deciding for himself the substance and location of his treatment and the identity of the attending doctors,” the judge said. “The question before me is not the patient’s ‘convenience,’ but the physical feasibility of flying the accused to Israel to stand trial, the amount of risk this entails and whether efficient care can be provided in Israel. The defense expert doesn’t address any of this.”
At the previous hearing last month, the prosecution had asked Mudrik to issue a writ of habeas corpus against Pinto and to impound his guarantees because of his nonappearance. It also threatened to cancel a plea bargain that had been signed with him.