Judge lets assault suspect walk free after police run out of paper for copier

A Tel Aviv Magistrate's judge threw an assault case out of court on Monday after it emerged that a complaint against police conduct filed by the suspect never reached the Police Investigation Department due to a shortage of photocopy paper. In December 2004, the suspect allegedly threatened a policewoman with violence. A border policeman who arrived on the scene also became the target of insults, and the suspect was accused of pushing the border policeman and another officer who came to assist. "You're Yemenite, you should be ashamed. You're all sons of bitches and you stink," the youth told the Border Policeman, according to the charge sheet. "Watch out, I'll screw you up. What's your problem?" the suspect allegedly told the policewoman. The suspect had an altogether different version of events, and claimed that officers had attacked him during the incident. He filed a complaint with police, who are obliged by law to pass the case on to the Justice Ministry's Police Investigations Department. During the assault case, the Tel Aviv court heard that a shortage of paper meant that the complaint never reached the PID, leading the suspect's lawyer to demand that the case be dismissed. The prosecution was left with little choice but to agree. "In light of the fact that the case was not transferred to the PID, I order a cancellation of the charges," Judge Muki Lendman said. He described the police's reason for failing to transfer the complaint as "surprising, to use an understatement." Police referred requests for comment to the Justice Ministry, and a ministry spokeswoman said: "The complaint never reached the PID. The paper shortage was within the police force, not the PID. So it is the police that must account for this."