(photo credit: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)
Hours after trying to restart the Holyland trial without the state’s key
witness, Judge David Rozen was forced on Thursday to adjourn the proceedings, in
the face of fierce protests from a legion of defense attorneys.
was first paused last Wednesday when “S.D.” – as the state’s main witness is
referred to under a gag order – was hospitalized. He was released from the
hospital late Thursday night, the State Attorney’s Office said.
Tuesday, the court ordered the state to move forward with its case, whether S.D.
returned or not.
Even if S.D. returned to testify for limited morning
hours, the court said the state would need to call other witnesses for an
extended afternoon session.
The defense attorneys objected to the court’s
new plan for moving forward on several grounds.
First, they noted that
the trial had been moving forward at breakneck speed, holding hearings an
unusual four times per week, and that it appeared that S.D. would return
In other words, the defense attorneys felt that there was no need
to rush ahead and the court should wait for S.D.’s return, even if the trial was
paused for a somewhat more extended period.
The defense attorneys also
said that moving along with other witnesses would undermine the trial’s
fairness, giving S.D. a chance to pour over the answer of other witnesses before
he needed to return to court.
This would allow him to change his
testimony to be consistent with the other witnesses and help him fill in holes
in his testimony which the defense had been catching during
The domino effect would also impact the state’s other
witnesses who had a right to hear his testimony before they testified, as most
of the other witnesses are only connected to the case to the extent that S.D.
Initially, Rozen would not budge and pressed forward with
the new state witnesses.
However, when every single defense attorney
refused to perform cross-examination, Rozen relented, giving the defense until
Sunday to file a petition with the High Court of Justice to formally freeze the
hearings pending S.D’s return.
In the absence such an order, Rozen
promised to move forward with the other witnesses on Sunday.