Searches of MKs' homes regulated

mazuz 88 (photo credit: )
mazuz 88
(photo credit: )
Last July 3, in the wake of a legal dispute over whether police could search the house of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's son, Gilad, when Sharon himself lived in the same house, Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz issued a guideline on the subject, which also applies to the current case of Likud MK Inbal Gavrieli. The guideline addressed the question of when does an MK's immunity against a police search of his home apply in a case where the police want to search the home in connection with an investigation over someone else living in it who is not an MK. In Gavrieli's case, the police wanted to search for material connected to the investigation of her father, Shoni Gavrieli. According to Mazuz's guideline, each case must be investigated according to its own particular circumstances because of the different variables that must be taken into consideration. For example, for parliamentary immunity to apply, it must be certain that the house the police want to search is the one in which the MK is actually living - not one the MK owns but rents to someone else. Secondly, the police may search the property of an MK if they can isolate the part of it in which they want to conduct the search and leave the MK's abode untouched. This would apply in cases where, for example, the police want to search a structure located on the property, but one that is separate from the home of the MK, or if the home is divided into separate wings. If the home is one, organic whole, the police may not search it. Mazuz added that in "borderline cases," where there is good cause to believe that the immunity of the MK could be lifted (at which point the MK's home could be searched), the police may take into consideration the potential impact of the search in determining the outcome of the investigation in order to decide whether to conduct the search in the MK's home. Mazuz added that in any case in which the police want to search a property linked to an MK, they must first obtain the approval of the attorney-general. Furthermore, the search warrant must be approved by the court.