Court rules 'starving mother' to remain under house arrest
Jerusalem District Court rules that mother accused of starving her toddler son will remain under house arrest. Prosecution believes mother must be held in official detainment facility until end of legal proceedings, consider appealing to Supreme Court. Haredi community threatens to riot if mother returned to jail
Efrat Weiss • Ynet
The mother suspected of starving her three-year-old son will remain under house arrest until further notice. The Jerusalem District Court ruled Friday to keep the woman's remand conditions as is. The ultra-Orthodox community threatened to renew riots should the mother be returned to a detainment facility.
According to the court's decision, the mother will remain under house arrest in her home in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Mea Shaarim until further notice. The prosecution, which believes that the mother should be held in a detainment facility until the end of the legal proceedings, is considering submitting an appeal of the decision to the Supreme Court.
The mother, charged with abusing a dependent minor, arrived in court accompanied by family members. Judge Refael Yakobi ruled that she would remain under house arrest in her home until further notice. Another hearing will be held on August 23rd.
The ruling was made despite the prosecution's request that the mother be removed from Mea Shaarim and the defense's request that the mother detained in form. The judge noted that the mother's cooperation with various officials will be examined over the next two weeks, after which time the court may decide otherwise.
After the verdict was read, the prosecution's Attn. Tal Ben-Shahar said that the prosecution is weighing whether or not to appeal to the Supreme Court. The court did not place a limitation on the time period during which an appeal may be submitted, such that the prosecution is free to appeal next week should it chose to do so.
The District Court issued a gag order Friday on all of the investigation's content, tapes, videos, and professional medical opinions.
On Tuesday the mother failed to show up to her indictment on Tuesday, which angered the prosecution. Her attorney, David Halevy said in response that she was not summoned and that she was ill and was placed on bed rest for the duration of her pregnancy.
According to the indictment, in the period between February 2008 and July 2009, the mother would take her son to hospital and tell the medical staff in the Hadassah Medical Center that her son suffered from various symptoms that she in fact was the one causing them, while deceiving the medial staff.
The mother's reports of her son's health led him to spend prolonged periods of time in hospital and forced him to undergo unnecessary, painful and dangerous medical treatment.
The suspect is also accused of having disconnected various transfusion tubes her son was connected to during his time in hospital "to prevent him from being nourished and to create a false pretence before the medical staff that her son suffers from the inability to digest food in any way, making his hospitalization necessary".
The indictment also says that at one point, the child's life was in serious danger, and that the mother would "rub his slim body with various objects to damage his skin".
The prosecution also addressed the seer emotional toll the physical abuse must have taken on the child, and wrote: "The mother damaged her son's emotional health, caused him suffering, pain, stress, enraged outburst and crying over many days during the relevant period."
This woman has repeatedly and brazenly violated the terms of her release to house arrest, including preventing specific terms meant to protect her other children.
At the same time, the court allowed haredim to bring in an independent psychiatrist with a very checkered past.
In one case of child sexual abuse, his medical opinion was the prepubescent victims had "seduced" the rapist. Hadassah Hospital had recently fired the shrink for inappropriate dealings with patients. He was working there as a sexologist.
It was that psychiatrist's testimony to the mother's sanity and lack of danger posed to others that got the mother returned to her Mea Shearim home.
The shrink recanted his medical opinion within days after the mother was released.
Rabbi Yaakov Litzman, the government's minister of health, posted part of the woman's bail and vouched for her, even as the government he represents argued the woman posed a danger to others and should be jailed.
The conflicts of interest and ethical lapses in this case are clear. So is the evidence against the mother.
So why is she awaiting trial while living in the same small home with her children?
In Israel, crime, violence and proteksia pays.