Ben-Gvir acquitted of supporting terror groups

Judge cites evidentiary failures, slams prosecution for mixing evidence from two different investigations.

March 13, 2012 12:49
1 minute read.
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The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court ruled on Tuesday to acquit right-wing activist Itamar Ben-Gvir of charges of providing support to two designated terror groups, Kach and Kahane Chai.

Ben Gvir was indicted in 2006, and charged with running activities on behalf of the groups from a rental apartment on Jerusalem's Agripas Street. Allegedly, he had kept extensive materials relating to the terror groups, including CDs, labels, posters and leaflets, in the apartment.

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Judge Alexander Ron said the trial had been plagued with evidentiary shortcomings and that "despite the severity of the charges attributed to the defendant, the prosecution [had] not established an evidentiary basis, as it is obliged to do."

The court therefore ruled to acquit, he said.

The judge said evidence from two investigations had been mixed with each other, and most of the evidence seized had been destroyed or lost.

"It is doubtful whether a so-called 'chain of evidence', exists at all as part of the 'links' [of that chain] are documents that nobody ever signed, and there are even more evidentiary failures," said Judge Ron.

The judge added that there had been documents shown in court, the publication of which "could constitute a serious offense."

"That, and the silence of the defendant in his investigation, leaves the court with a feeling of discomfort," he continued. "However, this does not 'cure' the shortcomings concerning the evidentiary basis."

The judge cited a 2002 Supreme Court ruling, that stated the prosecution has an obligation to keep detailed records in order to ensure the integrity of the investigation. Defects in this area could affect a defendant's right to due process and to mount an adequate defense, the Supreme Court said, and could result in a ruling of miscarriage of justice.

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