Court orders state to thoroughly probe leaks from Lieberman investigation

"It is inconceivable that police who leak information will sleep peacefully at night," says Justice Edmond Levy.

Lieberman makes point 224 88 aj (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi [file])
Lieberman makes point 224 88 aj
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi [file])
The Justice Ministry's Police Investigations Department must conduct an "intensive investigation" of leaks allegedly made by police regarding the criminal investigation of Israel Beiteinu party leader Avigdor Lieberman, the High Court of Justice ordered on Monday. "It is inconceivable that police who leak information will sleep peacefully at night," said presiding Justice Edmond Levy. "They must pay a price for their actions." Lieberman's lawyer, Yaron Kostelitz, said that by demanding an investigation of the leaks, the court had already given the petitioners what they wanted. In March, Lieberman, represented by attorneys Ya'acov Weinroth and Kostelitz, petitioned the High Court against the refusal of the police to investigate who leaked sections of a report filed by the head of the police team investigating allegations against Lieberman to outgoing police chief, Insp.-Gen. Moshe Karadi. On February 11 and February 16, the Internet news site News First Class published two articles which included large verbatim segments of the report. Lieberman added the two reports were the last straw. "From time to time during the lengthy investigation, many details of investigation material have been leaked to the media, especially during election campaigns in which the petitioner participated as head of Israel Beiteinu," wrote Kostelitz. The state's representative, attorney Dana Briskman, told the court that in the wake of the petition, which was filed in March, the police had carried out a preliminary examination and decided to close the file. She also said it would be difficult to identify the source of the leak because many officials in the police and prosecution, as well as Lieberman's defense team, had access to the investigation material. Kostelitz replied that the examination had not been serious and that it had been carried out by the police and not even by the Police Investigations Department, which, although made up of investigators borrowed from the police, is an independent unit within the Justice Ministry. Kostelitz also denied that Lieberman's lawyers had seen any of the investigation material. He argued that the state did not deny that the material had been leaked and that leaking it was a criminal offense. Therefore, the state was breaking the law by not investigating the matter. The court agreed with Kostelitz and gave the state 45 days to report back to it on the progress being made by the Police Investigations Department into the source of the leak. Lieberman has also filed another petition with the High Court, demanding that Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz make up his mind and either indict him on suspicion of accepting bribes or close the file against him. The investigation into these allegations began in 2006. In the wake of the petition, Mazuz closed the file on the original allegations against Lieberman, which had to do with suspicions that he had violated the Party Campaign Funding Law in the 1999 elections. According to Lieberman, that investigation began 10 years ago.