Israel Police 'Error' Keeps Accused Stabber in Prison Six Months

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An Israel Police patrol car.

A man detained for six months on suspicion of involvment in a stabbing was provisionally released on Wednesday, after it emerged that police had not informed prosecutors of a reenactment in which the plaintiff named his attackers but did not mention the detainee.

The victim. who was stabbed last November in Be’er Sheva, recognized his attackers, according to the indictment filed in December. Five people, including Edward Rabnov, were arrested and were charged with conspiring to commit a crime, aggravated assault and possession of a knife. Rabnov was detained until the end of legal proceedings. The prosecution told the court in April there was no case material that had not been transferred to the defense.

However the Public Defender’s Office attorney representing Rabnov revealed that one of the prosecution witnesses had mentioned the reenactment during cross-examination two weeks ago. The prosecution looked into the issue and handed over the video two days ago. In it, the victim names his attackers, without mentioning Rabnov.

In addition, police recorded the accused’s version of events, but later claimed the recording was lost. If the video had been revealed at the start, Rabnov would never have been charged, his attorney said.

The Be’er Sheva policeman who made the recording and videoed the reenactment, Staff Sgt. Major Naor Biton, wrote a memorandum two days ago in which he claimed that he had sent the reenactment video, which had been made on a cell phone, to the head of the police investigations division, Yogev Pinsker, but that the entire video did not get transferred.

The memorandum also explains why the prosecution told the court that there were no more action reports in the case. According to Biton, this was the first report he had written regarding the reenactment and the recording. According to Rabnov’s attorney, another policeman, Sahar Ben Dayan, provided a memorandum in which he wrote, “I photographed the whole process, and then I remember that they downloaded the video from my telephone for the investigation.” He didn’t write who downloaded the video and when.

The prosecution and the defense agreed that Rabnov would be freed on condition that he remain home at night. The deal was approved Wednesday by Be’er Sheva District Court Judge Geula Levin.

The prosecution issued a statement saying, “During court testimony by the plaintiff, the prosecution became aware that the plaintiff had conducted a filmed reenactment for police, which due to an error was not give to the prosecution with the case file. Upon receipt of the reenactment and examination of the data resulting from it, the prosecution agreed to free the accused with restrictions.”

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