Parents of comatose boy decry 3 year hit-and-run sentence

Court accepted plea bargain with suspects Omri Naim and Penina Toren.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
July 13, 2010 06:22
1 minute read.

The Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court accepted a plea bargain on Monday with Omri Naim and Penina Toren, who were convicted in a hit-and-run accident that left 12-year-old Yehud resident Amir Balahsan badly injured a year ago.

According to the plea bargain, the two will serve three years in jail and one year parole. Additionally, the driver’s licenses of both will be revoked for a period of 10 years.

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Naim and Toren will also have to pay Balahsan’s family NIS 30,000 in damages.

The family of Balahsan, who has been comatose since the accident, protested the plea bargain. Yossi Balahsan, Amir’s father, said a sentence of three years was the same “given to the man who threw a shoe at [Supreme Court President Dorit] Beinisch. How can the people who made my son a vegetable get only three years?”

Monique Balahsan, the boy’s mother, also expressed her disappointment.

But lawyer Asher Arbel, who represented Naim and Toren, said the sentence was harsh and that he was considering appealing to the Supreme Court.

In his sentence, Judge Zecharia Caspi said the defendants’ abandoning Balahsan and fleeing the scene was morally despicable. However, he maintained that the plea bargain was “appropriate and even harsh, considering the circumstances.”

“The central and worst felony is leaving the scene after the accident,” Caspi wrote, but elsewhere in the sentence added that the plea bargain “withstands the test of the public’s interest and is not overly lenient with the defendants; the opposite is true.”

Balahsan’s parents appealed to the court not allow the plea bargain to be signed.

“We are locked in our own personal prison ever since the accident,” they said.

“We live in a continuous nightmare.”


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