moshe lador 224.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
State Attorney Moshe Lador on Wednesday lashed out against the state comptroller’s opinion that retiring Tel Aviv District Attorney Ruth David and prosecutor Ariella Segal-Antler were guilty of “substantial negligence” and his recommendation that punitive measures should be considered against them.
The state attorney was referring to the report published by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss on Monday, summarizing his investigation of the failure of the police and the state prosecution to hand over to former justice minister Haim Ramon copies of wiretapped conversations related to the sexual misconduct charges against him during his trial. Ramon accused the police and the state prosecution of deliberately withholding the information as part of a conspiracy to make sure he was convicted and ousted from the Justice Ministry.
Lindenstrauss concluded that four senior police and prosecution officials had been guilty of “substantial negligence” in the affair and that the authorities should consider taking punitive measures against them. However, Lindenstrauss also found that no one had acted maliciously.
During a talk with legal reporters at the Justice Ministry, Lador strongly defended David and Segal-Antler.
“The Tel Aviv district attorney and the prosecutor in the case did not even violate a regulation,” Lador told reporters. “After 30 years of work, David received a strident note that shattered her.” David is due to retire shortly.
Lador added that nothing David or Segal-Antler had done justified any type of procedures against them, certainly not disciplinary ones.
“The mistake in this case was a routine one,” he continued. “You will never see this kind of deed leading to disciplinary action.”
However, Lador conceded that had David had erred because she was not alert enough to question the policeman who told her that none of the wiretapped conversations were relevant to Ramon’s case.
Lindenstrauss had accused David of filing the indictment against Ramon without having read all the investigative material – in this case, the wiretapped conversations – as she was supposed to. David maintained that she had asked the police whether the wiretapped conversations were relevant to the Ramon case and therefore constituted evidence and was told, orally and in writing, that they were not.
Nevertheless, said Lador, “a red light should have turned on in her head” because David knew the police had wiretapped the female soldier who had complained against Ramon and two others. “She should have thought that the policeman’s answer was a bit odd,” said Lador. “She should have been dubious.
“But to turn this omission into a conspiracy against Ramon, to shout, ‘Oh my God, how horrible, you concealed evidence’ is utterly baseless,” he added.
Lador also argued that the state prosecution’s written regulations did not require prosecutors to read all the case material themselves. That was the job of the police, he said.
Lador also defended the state prosecution from a sharp rebuke issued against it by the Jerusalem District Court last week in the trial of former prime minister Ehud Olmert. The rebuke came after a witness for the prosecution told Olmert’s lawyers the prosecution had given her a 32-page question-and-answer summary of her testimony to police in the Rishon Tours affair. The material was meant to refresh her memory to prepare her for her appearance in court. The presiding judge, Jerusalem District Court President Moussia Arad, accused the prosecution of preparing a document that was not always true to the text of what the witness had told the police.
Olmert’s lawyers demanded a criminal investigation to determine whether the prosecutors had tampered with the witness’s testimony.
Lador said the prosecution was still studying the matter but denied that there had been any attempt to slant her statements.
In another development, Lador said the prosecution recently received
the results of a testimony taken abroad in the investigation of Foreign
Minister Avigdor Lieberman. He said the information would help the
prosecution get a better idea of what exactly happened in the affair,
but would not say whether it advanced the case against the minister.
The police have already recommended indicting Lieberman.
Lieberman’s spokesman responded by saying: “Every time the state
prosecution has a public or image problem, it takes a spin at
Lieberman’s expense that is both embarrassing and sad.”
Lador also revealed that the state prosecution is preparing a code of
ethics for its staff of 850 prosecutors. At the same time, it is
planning to establish a unit that will be responsible for overseeing
and enforcing the code. Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman is aware of the
plan, Lador added.Herb Keinon contributed to this report.