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A Prosecutor Comments

Israel Antiquities Authority vs. Conspiracy of (Alleged) Forgers

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I am a professional prosecutor who has followed this case mainly through BAR. From what I read in your publication, I have been amazed that a Western court of law would entertain a case with so little evidence and so many questions about the scientific basis of the evidence. I am usually reluctant to criticize other prosecutors based on stories in the media, but your publication gave a reasonably detailed exposition of the case and assuming that you haven’t left out some major body of evidence, I have some comments to make as a lawyer. The prosecution’s star expert, upon which the case appears to be mainly if not entirely based, performed a scientific examination that seems to be scientifically unsound and untested by peer review. Such testimony would be almost certainly be inadmissible in California and I think in other American jurisdictions. The state’s expert himself indicated that there were other possible explanations for his finding and these explanations seemed to me exceedingly plausible. For some reason these innocent explanations have been cited but then entirely ignored for no good reason that I have been informed about. It appears the defense in the case has not been allowed to have the evidence examined and tested by their own experts which would be basically unfair and lacking in due process. The defense has been able to proffer experts who credibly dispute the states expert’s opinion and this in itself would raise a reasonable doubt (if such be the standard in Israel) about the defendant’s guilt. The defense experts appear to have qualifications far superior to the state’s expert and this would raise a red flag in the mind of any prosecutor. The other opinions of the members of the committee that first found the box to be a forgery gave exonerating evidence in their own specialties that would have, in and of themselves, cast a true and substantial doubt about the truth of the charge, even in the absence of the defense experts. In summary, the bringing of these charges has struck me as being a major error if not worse. If there is more credible evidence, I would gladly change my mind as I have a high opinion of the State of Israel and its ability to do justice.


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