Another excellent analysis from The Head Heeb:
An interesting court decision came down in Israel the other day, and no, I’m not talking about this one, this one or this one, although I heartily applaud them all. Unlike some of the others I’ve mentioned, it didn’t come out of a political or human rights case, but instead from the routine drug prosecution of Private Rapahel Yisascharof. At trial, Yisascharof claimed that he was being prosecuted on the strength of an involuntary confession. The court-martial agreed that the confession was improperly obtained, but nevertheless allowed into evidence on the ground that it didn’t compromise the integrity of the trial. The Supreme Court, however, threw out the confession, and held for the first time in Israeli history that the defendant’s rights are paramount in determining whether to admit illegally obtained evidence:
The High Court of Justice set a precedent Thursday by ruling that any court hearing a criminal case has the authority to disqualify evidence obtained illegally. The panel ruled by a majority of eight to one that “the new doctrine would also apply to confessions by defendants and may cause [the confessions] to be disqualified in instances where the interrogators had not advised the defendant of his or her rights.”
Those basic rights include “the right to remain silent and to consult a lawyer before making a confession,” the ruling said.
The precedent changes the current procedure in place that allowed the use of evidence obtained illegally in a criminal case, although such evidence was considered to carry less legal weight.
Up to now, Israeli courts had used a discretionary rule of exclusion similar to Australia’s or Canada’s, in which the main consideration in deciding whether to admit or suppress improperly obtained evidence is the integrity of the judicial system. The new ruling doesn’t entirely eliminate judicial discretion, and courts are still required to “consider the circumstances of every case separately before declaring evidence admissible.” However, by stating that suspects’ rights are now the “key consideration in the disqualification of confessions,” the Supreme Court moved Israeli law much closer to an American-style system in which suppression is used as a penalty to discourage improper police conduct.
This decision is of interest not only for its effect on criminal procedure but as an example of … MORE
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