Panel Rescinds Lawyer's Appointment to Traffic Court After Reports of Sexual Misconduct / Attorney Asks Court to Let Him Sit on the Bench

Attorney Boris Kosanovic had already booked an events hall for a party after his presidential swearing-in ceremony to be a Safed traffic judge. He had already bought three new black suits for the new post, plus a car to drive from his home in Nahariya to the courthouse.

Then, three days before the ceremony, the Judicial Selections Committee repealed the appointment following press reports about alleged sexual harassment and unprofessional behavior.

Kosanovic, asked at the time of his appointment to leave his position as head of the prosecution unit in the Safed police, now seeks to return to his previous position or be allowed to take early retirement.

The police refused his request and the issue is now to be resolved by the High Court of Justice, following a petition by Kosanovic to have the judge appointment instated.

It is highly unusual for the Judicial Selection Committee to repeal its own decision. In February 2011 the panel chose Kosanovic unanimously as traffic judge, taking into account his knowledge as an attorney in the field and his 15-year experience as a police prosecutor. Then, a week before the swearing-in ceremony, information came to light according to which the police's internal investigations unit had looked into a complaint of sexual harassment filed against Kosanovic by a female police officer. It was also claimed that Kosanovic had been lenient in his role as police prosecutor and did not reveal to the court true data about the accused, leading to lighter plea bargains.

The case against him was eventually closed due to a lack of evidence.

Kosanovic's lawyer, Amir Meltzer, told Haaretz yesterday that the selections panel had been led astray, since the police's internal investigations unit had not opened an official investigation but had only held an inquiry which revealed nothing.

"I'm afraid the committee acted the way it did due to pressure from the media, while certain interested parties in the police department sought to harm Kosanovic and undermine his appointment," said Meltzer.

Meltzer said candidates for judging positions are required to sign secrecy waiver documents that allow the panel to collect information about them from the security, police and medical authorities.

The police department responded that Kosanovic had decided to leave his position after it was explained to him that he does not fulfill the criteria for early retirement.

"We are not aware of a request on his part to return to his previous position," read a statement from the police.

Kosanovic refused to comment.

The courts system responded that "Kosanovic's claims will be heard by the High Court of Justice. The decision of the Judicial Selection Committee refers to the failure to report the procedures, not their contents or results."