Holyland lawyers threaten petition to High Court

The defense attorneys object to the court’s new plan for moving forward on several grounds.

Holyland 390 (photo credit: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)
Holyland 390
(photo credit: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)
Hours after trying to restart the Holyland trial without the state’s key witness, Judge David Rozen was forced on Thursday to adjourn the proceedings, in the face of fierce protests from a legion of defense attorneys.
The trial was first paused last Wednesday when “S.D.” – as the state’s main witness is referred to under a gag order – was hospitalized. He was released from the hospital late Thursday night, the State Attorney’s Office said.
By Tuesday, the court ordered the state to move forward with its case, whether S.D. returned or not.
Even if S.D. returned to testify for limited morning hours, the court said the state would need to call other witnesses for an extended afternoon session.
The defense attorneys objected to the court’s new plan for moving forward on several grounds.
First, they noted that the trial had been moving forward at breakneck speed, holding hearings an unusual four times per week, and that it appeared that S.D. would return soon.
In other words, the defense attorneys felt that there was no need to rush ahead and the court should wait for S.D.’s return, even if the trial was paused for a somewhat more extended period.
The defense attorneys also said that moving along with other witnesses would undermine the trial’s fairness, giving S.D. a chance to pour over the answer of other witnesses before he needed to return to court.
This would allow him to change his testimony to be consistent with the other witnesses and help him fill in holes in his testimony which the defense had been catching during cross-examination.
The domino effect would also impact the state’s other witnesses who had a right to hear his testimony before they testified, as most of the other witnesses are only connected to the case to the extent that S.D. mentioned them.
Initially, Rozen would not budge and pressed forward with the new state witnesses.
However, when every single defense attorney refused to perform cross-examination, Rozen relented, giving the defense until Sunday to file a petition with the High Court of Justice to formally freeze the hearings pending S.D’s return.
In the absence such an order, Rozen promised to move forward with the other witnesses on Sunday.