‘Nir Hefetz bill’ would disqualify evidence obtained improperly

Sa’ar submits bill as questions rise about wrongdoing in Netanyahu case.

Gideon Saar (photo credit: Courtesy)
Gideon Saar
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Judges will be able to declare evidence to be inadmissible if it was obtained improperly, if new legislation by Likud MK Gideon Sa’ar becomes law.
“The court may disqualify evidence obtained through inappropriate means taken towards the defendant or anyone else,” is the full text of the bill, an amendment to the Evidence Ordinance.
Sa’ar proposed similar bills in the 16th and 17th Knessets, but he submitted this version on Tuesday, the day after Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit said he may investigate whether police put illegal pressure on Nir Hefetz, a state’s witness in Case 4000 and former spokesman of the Netanyahu family.
Earlier this week, Channel 12 and Israel Hayom reported that police brought in people unrelated to the case to blackmail Hefetz into testifying against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and agree to claims that he had previously denied.
In the bill’s explanatory section, Sa’ar points out that Israeli law only allows the court to declare evidence inadmissible in three cases: if it were obtained via illegal wiretapping, if an admission of guilt was determined to have been made not from out of free will or if it came from an illegal invasion of privacy.
The Israeli legal system is based on the British one, but Israel did not make this update when the UK did in 1984. “Therefore, the courts in Israel are forced to accept evidence attained through inappropriate means,” Sa’ar wrote. “By accepting this evidence, the inappropriate means is then implicitly authorized, and the defendant’s right to a fair trial is violated, as is the public’s trust in the judiciary.”
He also emphasized that the court does not have to deem evidence inadmissible; his bill only gives judges the option.
Sa’ar is the only MK in the Likud who said he would be willing to run against Netanyahu for party leader.