Ramon: State is guilty of obstruction of justice

Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court will hand down its verdict in the trial of Haim Ramon on January 1, after holding its final day of hearings Monday on allegations that the Kadima MK committed an indecent act against a female soldier by using force to kiss her against her will. Earlier, Ramon's lawyer, Dan Scheinemann, concluded his summary arguments in which he claimed that the plaintiff, H., had flirted with Ramon and that he sincerely believed she wanted him to kiss her. During Monday's arguments, Scheinemann called on the court to terminate the trial because the state had allegedly been guilty of obstructing justice. Scheinemann was referring to the fact that the prosecution twice denied that the police had wiretapped phone conversations of individuals connected to the investigation of his client. It was only on November 2 that the prosecutor, Ariella Segal-Antler, asked the police whether they had in fact conducted wiretaps. In a public statement issued a few days later, Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz explained that the police had wiretapped the conversations of the plaintiff, H., her army commander and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's bureau chief, Shula Zaken, to see whether H. had been under pressure not to complain about Ramon's alleged act. After one day of wiretapping, the police were satisfied that the suspicion was unfounded and placed the tapes in a file separate from the Ramon investigation file and closed it. Therefore, Segal-Antler did not know about the tapes until, after having been asked about them twice by Scheinemann, she double-checked with the police. After studying the tapes, Segal-Antler found that some of the conversations did indeed have bearing on the Ramon case and gave them to Scheinemann. When the incident came to light, Scheinemann said he would consider asking the court to close the case on grounds of obstruction of justice. However, he did not do so at the time. On Monday, he told the court that had he been in possession of the tapes at the time, he would have asked Mazuz for a hearing and might have asked the Knesset to invoke his parliamentary immunity. Ramon waived both these rights in order to speed up the trial procedure. Scheinemann also argued that the police had put undue pressure on H. to lodge a complaint against Ramon and that the chief police investigator in the case, Dep.-Cmdr. Miri Golan, had misled H. by telling her that if she did not complain, Ramon would be able to sue her for defamation of character.