yair peretz 298.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court on Monday sentenced Yair Peretz, who announced his resignation from the Knesset last week, to a year's suspended sentence and a fine of NIS 6,000 after convicting him of receiving an academic degree through deceit.
Judge Miriam Diskin, who harshly criticized Peretz's behavior in her decision to convict him, emphasized his good qualities in her sentencing decision to explain why she felt a relatively light punishment was justified.
These reasons included "the fact that the defendant confessed, assumed responsibility and expressed regret in public... his confession, along with his clean past and the fact that this was his first and only conviction. And his conviction was in itself harsh enough given his status and position... His personal profile, marked by his positive character and good qualities, along with his welcome actions on behalf of the public before he was indicted also deserve to hold him in good stead now."
Peretz reached a plea bargain arrangement with the state prosecution which led to his conviction. According to the agreement, Peretz would confess to copying nine papers written by others to gain his BA in psychology from the Burlington University extension branch in Israel. In return, the state would drop two other charges against him. According to the agreement, Peretz's lawyer, Yehuda Weinstein, would be entitled to ask the court not to convict his client, while the state could ask for a conviction.
The court accepted the state's request on this matter. However, on the question of punishment, the state promised Peretz not to ask the court for a jail sentence. In her decision, Diskin wrote that the state's promise was legitimate and that the court would honor it. She added that the punishment handed down to the defendant was not that far from the punishment he would have received had there been no prior agreement with the prosecution.