In a rare move, Supreme Court President Aharon Barak on Sunday ordered a new trial for Denis Eisen, who was sentenced to 14 years in jail for battering to death his three-month-old son, Ron.
Eisen was convicted in July 2000 and has already completed four years of his sentence.
According to police reports, at 8 a.m. on February 3, 2000, Eisen found his son dead in his bed. The baby was then sent to the L. Greenberg Institute of Forensic Medicine in Abu Kabir for an autopsy.
Chief pathologist Yehuda Hiss wrote that the baby's skull had been fractured three or four hours before he died. Eisen had been the last person to see the baby that night.
The state prosecuted and convicted him on the basis of the circumstantial evidence that had been compiled. However, Eisen continued to maintain that he was innocent and appealed to the Public Defender's Office for help. A team of three lawyers including David Weiner, Efrat Fink and Ami Kobo sent the medical file to Prof. Eliezer Rosenman and asked for his opinion.
Rosenman discovered that the baby had suffered from a rare heart disease, causing his heart and lungs to weigh much more than average for a baby of his age and size. He also discovered that the skull fracture had occurred three or four days before the death and was already on the mend by the time the baby died. Rosenman declared that the baby had died of the heart disease.
The lawyers received corroborating reports from two other doctors, Elana Ariel and a pathologist from Scotland. Meanwhile Hiss continued to insist that his diagnosis was correct.
Barak ruled that the new information brought before the court had the potential to change the original verdict had it been available during the original trial.
"After studying the material brought before me, the arguments of the sides, the expert opinion and other material brought before me, I was convinced that we must respond affirmatively to the request and order a new trial," Barak concluded in his ruling.
This new evidence included the fact that the baby apparently suffered the fractured skull several days before he died.
Hiss also acknowledged that he had observed that the fracture was beginning to heal. Secondly, there was the discovery that the baby suffered from a rare heart disease. Hiss had not noticed it in his original autopsy.
Although it is rare for the court to grant a new trial, it did so only two months ago in the case of Adrian Schwartz, who had been convicted of raping a girl in Jerusalem. That decision was handed down by Justice Edmond Levy.