After texting scandal, tighter rules on contacts between judges, prosecutors

President of the Supreme Court Esther Hayut on Sunday issued a new set of procedures governing the interplay between judges and investigators and prosecutors earlier than the submitting of indictments in opposition to suspects.

The procedures had been the end result of a evaluation prompted by a texting scandal that appeared to point out a prosecutor colluding with the decide presiding over a main corruption case involving the telecommunications big, Bezeq.

Under the brand new rules all contact between the decide and the investigative and prosecuting our bodies will solely be made throughout court docket hearings. Aside from within the courtroom, no direct requests are to be fabricated from judges, however somewhat are to be stuffed by way of the court docket administration.

“We have been given the opportunity to provide an appropriate and transparent response to any systemic impairment,” Hayut stated in a assertion and also stated that the procedures “will help regulate the working interfaces between judges and the prosecution and investigation bodies, and will strengthen the public’s confidence in the system.”

Eran Shacham-Shavit, the authorized adviser to the Israel Securities Authority, was working on the Bezeq graft case in February when Channel 10 News broadcast messages despatched between him and Judge Ronit Poznansky-Katz, who was presiding over the case on the time.

In a WhatsApp chat, Shacham-Shavit informed Judge Ronit Poznansky-Katz that the prosecution would search the discharge of some suspects however not others. “Try and act surprised” within the courtroom, Shacham-Shavit wrote.

Judge Ronit Poznansky-Katz leaves the Supreme court docket in Jerusalem after showing earlier than the Supreme Court justices as a part of the disciplinary course of in opposition to her, March 21, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In one other chat, Shacham-Shavit wrote that concerning the suspects “[Bezeq CEO] Stella [Handler] and Iris [Elovitch, Shaul’s wife], we will ask for a few more days tomorrow. They will request three days, but you can definitely, definitely give two days.”

“You’re continuing to reveal everything to me and I’ll have to act really, really surprised,” Poznansky-Katz responds, apparently jokingly.

Shacham-Shavit later claimed that he and Judge Poznansky-Katz weren’t beforehand acquainted, and stated he was solely in direct contact along with her concerning the logistics of the case as a result of he didn’t have an assistant on the time.

The dialog passed off earlier than the suspects’ remand hearings within the so-called Case 4000, the place they had been ostensibly given an alternative to make their case earlier than the decide determined whether or not they are often launched from custody and below what situations.

Israel Securities Authority investigator Eran Shacham-Shavit (YouTube screenshot)

Following publication of the chat Poznansky-Katz was faraway from deliberate hearings within the case, and in April a disciplinary court docket for judges discovered her responsible of unbecoming habits. No date has been set for the sentencing.

Last month Shacham-Shavit signed a plea take care of the Civil Service Commission. Under the phrases of the settlement, Shacham-Shavit returned to the investigations division of the Israel Securities Authority the place he was to be severely reprimanded, and demoted for a 12 months. After that point he might be permitted to renew his earlier place because the authorized adviser to the Investigations Department of the ISA and to symbolize the ISA on authorized issues.

Case 4000 includes suspicions that the chairman and controlling shareholder of the telecommunications big Bezeq, Shaul Elovitch, ordered the Walla information web site, which he owns, to grant constructive protection to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his household, in trade for the prime minister allegedly advancing laws benefiting Bezeq and Elovitch.

Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing.

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