A CHILD abuse victim is portrayed in this illustrative photo.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned the conviction three years ago of a man sentenced to 17 years in prison for molesting a toddler on the basis of insufficient evidence.
The 2-1 ruling to acquit former businessman Nissim Haddad who had been convicted of sexually abusing the 18-month-old child of his ex-girlfriend said the evidence relied upon by the Tel Aviv District Court to convict Haddad in 2013 was circumstantial.
According to Salim Joubran and Menachem Mazuz, the two justices who granted Haddad’s appeal, there was no direct proof that he had attacked the child.
In particular, the justices noted that there was forensic evidence missing from the bodies of both Haddad and the toddler that normally would exist confirming such an attack.
The only evidence of an assault, they said, was that the child was bleeding.
The justices criticized the police for a “lazy investigation” and overly relying on the fact that a video showed Haddad entering an exercise room with the child healthy and leaving 30 minutes later, right after which the mother discovered that the toddler was bleeding.
Haddad was watching the child so the mother could get ready for the three o to go out to a restaurant.
Joubran said this was not enough to prove that Haddad was the cause of the bleeding, and Haddad had claimed throughout that the baby had injured himself.
It was even possible that the injuries were caused earlier but had not been detected, Joubran wrote.
The justices in the majority added that there was nothing in Haddad’s background that would account for him to suddenly attack a child.
Joubran said his heart went out to the child and mother, but that it appeared that the question of how the injury occurred would remain a mystery.
The dissenting justice, Isaac Amit, voted to uphold the conviction, saying there was no other feasible explanation for the injuries other than that Haddad attacked him.
Amit said medical evidence showed the injuries were too severe to be self-inflicted, adding that the video showed Haddad acting suspiciously when he left the exercise room.
Circumstantial evidence, wrote Amit, is sufficient to convict when there is no other plausible explanation for how a crime was committed.