Will witnesses avoid the bloggers cyber trial in Israel?
This week there is to be a hearing for a trial plan. This is the stage of the process in which the next step is to enact the following Section of Criminal Law:
144. After the commencement of the trial and at any stage of the trial, the court may - if the defendant is represented by a defense attorney - summon the defendant and his defense attorney and the prosecutor to clarify their consent to the questions of fact and admissability of documents and exhibits, including their submission not through witnesses.
Judge Beni Sagi has summoned the 3 defendants and their lawyers to a 7 HOUR hearing this week to clarify this very question.
Given the amount of technical data in the trial, it would be unthinkable that a defendant would rely on trying to defend their innocence, when it is commonly known that documents in Israeli trials are not always authentic. It is also the first opportunity the defendants will have to begin to argue for dismissal of the evidence amassed against them.
Should this hearing be 'successful', two further hearings of 7 hours each will be held during the same week.
Perhaps the witnesses who are comprised of Wordpress, Facebook, Judges, Social Workers, Prosecutors, Lawyers and Police do not want to have the content of the blogs discussed again, or it is possible they are too busy dealing with the growing amount of issues at the higher level of government corruption investigations.
It is still unknown that if any of the three refuse the request, whether their section of the trial will involve witnesses.
Since the prosecution have submitted an indictment sheet combining all three defendants, a timeline hearing to make a programme for this trial will possibly be more exhausting than the trial itself. There are 91 charges against Lory Shem Tov, the female blogger, 67 against Activist Moti Leybel, and 42 against Advocate Zvi Zer.
A window of opportunity is opening, whereby the defendants get their first chance to dismiss as much as possible. Some of the witnesses have expressed reluctance to attend in person which is why a gag order was requested by the prosecution. It is unknown how many witnesses have expressed a fear to give testimony. There are now rumours and assumptions from the corridors of the Israel Bar Association that either evidence was fabricated or the police gained the information against regulations.
The key witnesses of Facebook and Wordpress are still unknown to the Defense teams, and one letter which appeared from Wordpress only arrived a few months AFTER the indictments in April. This is a critical piece of evidence which could actually sink the whole trial for the prosecution.
Will the investigations ever be completed, as blogger Lory Shem Tov is facing a new one only this week, and sources claim this is a reopening of the discussion of her connection with Attorney Barak Lazer, legal advisor of the Court Administration who was arrested approximately the same time, but later released and permitted to return to work, after accusations that it was he who leaked the scandalous confidential documents.
After 7 months imprisonment, the 3 indicted with their legal representatives will argue and get clarification of just how much is admissable of the almost 100,000 documents before the trial starts.