Israel's Supreme Court rejected Sunday nightclub owner Alon Kastiel’s appeal of his sentence for sexual offenses, leaving him facing a jail term of four years and nine months.
Kastiel had argued that this sentence was far stiffer than the sentences received by others convicted of similar crimes. But in their ruling, Justices David Mintz, Hanan Melcer and George Karra said his sentence was both unexceptional and justified.
The indictment, they wrote, paints “a difficult picture of violent behavior” against women, “which recurred in various forms and with various levels of severity over the course of years.”
The court’s longstanding policy is that stringent sentences are necessary to reflect “the significant damage done to the bodies and souls of the crime victims, as well as the public interest in deterring potential sex offenders,” they added. “The complainants will have to deal with the harm the appellant’s actions caused them for many years to come.”
The justices also rejected Kastiel’s claim that the long period of time that elapsed between the crimes and his conviction received insufficient weight.
“The passage of time is a reason for being lenient with the defendant when it constitutes an indication of change in his behavior, conduct and mode of thinking,” Mintz wrote for the court. “In this case, in contrast, after committing the crime detailed in the first charge 11 years ago, the appellant continued his behavior up until the incident in the second and fourth charges, which occurred three years prior to his conviction.”
Kastiel, 37, was convicted of sex crimes against four women in a plea bargain and sentenced by the Tel Aviv District Court last July. Prosecutors had sought an eight-year sentence, while Kastiel’s lawyers asked for 18 months.
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Police began investigating him in November 2016, after the Hottest Place in Hell website reported that he had been kicked out of the Block Club, of which he was part owner, as well as other nightclubs, because women had complained that he sexually assaulted or harassed them. Kastiel denied the allegations.
He was eventually charged with sexual offenses against five women.