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Roman Zadorov and the criminal investigation

The criminal investigation should be carried out in the most professional manner and the material orderly summarized and submitted to the State Attorney's Office based on the rules set forth in the law of evidence.

Failures in the criminal investigation may distort conclusions and lead the way to a miscarriage of justice.

I will use two examples in which the Supreme Court decided on a retrial due to failures in the criminal investigation.

The first is the so-called 'Ma'atz affair. In August 1978, it was announced that a group of young people known as the ‘Ma’atz gang’ had been arrested. The police charged them with a series of arsons that had occurred in Israel between 1974 and 1978. In October 1978 indictments were filed against seven members of the ‘Ma’atz gang’ - four of whom were sent to prison.

Fourteen years after their original interrogation and after the four had finished serving their prison sentences, Shai Simchi, a police officer involved in the interrogation, admitted that statements had been collected from the defendants using severe violence and humiliation techniques and that their testimony had been falsified. The four were acquitted without a retrial.

Another example is the story of Yoni Elzam. In March 2005, Elzam was convicted of involvement in the murder of the criminal Hanina Ohana, as part of an underworld power struggle. In November of that year, Elzam was sentenced to life in prison.

Four years after his conviction, the Supreme Court reversed the district court's decision and acquitted Yoni Elzam. Justice Esther Hayut and Justice Yoram Danziger severely criticized Elzam's conviction through the use of a “talker” - an undercover agent used to induce prisoners to talk and had thus severely violated his rights.

Roman Zadorov's case falls somewhere between the above two cases – somewhere between the “Ma’atz affair” and the case of Yoni Elzam.

Zadorov’s criminal investigation was conducted negligently and the main basis for the suspicions against him were due to the “talker”.

One of the known problems in the world of criminal investigations and one that investigators unfortunately fail at time and time again, is the way they neglect the criminal investigative process which is very structured and detailed and rely solely on the interrogation of their particular suspect. When it later becomes apparent that the suspect has no involvement with the offense it is no small matter to restart the investigative process from scratch.

As a result, investigators may force the suspect in their custody to admit to what he did not do through false representations and fabricated evidence. Or worse under tremendous psychological pressure.

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