A former Jerusalem police chief was sentenced on Monday to 10 months in prison and a further five months of probation following a district court decision in September that overturned his exoneration on charges of sexual assault, fraud and breach of trust.
The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court also fined Nissan “Niso” Shaham NIS 7,500 (approximately $2,000) and ordered him to compensate two of the victims with NIS 1,500 (approximately $400) and a further victim with NIS 500 (approximately $150).
Shaham’s attorney said he intends to appeal the sentence.
The court convicted Shaham of an indecent act in April 2018 for kissing a junior officer, but acquitted him of one count of sexual harassment, five counts of breach of trust and another indecent act charge over alleged sexual relationships with numerous female officers under his command.
Shaham was sentenced later that year to community service, but police internal affairs investigators said that was insufficient given the severity of his actions — sexual relationships with numerous female officers under his command.
In September 2019, the Tel Aviv District Court accepted an appeal by the state and overturned the lower court’s decision to clear Shaham of sexual assault, fraud and breach of trust, convicting him of the original charges. It kicked the case back down to the Magistrate’s Court for sentencing.
In his opening remarks at the sentencing on Monday, Judge Shmuel Melamed said that Shaham had caused harm to the public with his actions and noted how difficult it could be for a former senior police officer to serve time in prison.
“Protected values were harmed here. There was harm to the public, harm to public servants and harm to public servants’ integrity,” Melamed told the court.
“Imposing a prison sentence on the defendant can seriously harm him, especially because of his rank in the police force. The sentence will also have serious effects on the defendant’s family,” the judge said.
“However, the defendant did not take any responsibility and no actions were taken to correct the defendant’s actions — especially vis-a-vis the police officers in the force.”
During a December hearing in the Magistrate’s court, Representatives of the Police Internal Investigations Department in the Justice Ministry argued that the penalty of community service for Shaham was not severe enough given his actions.
“No other punishment can be relevant in this case,” Haaretz quoted PIID representative Ronen Yitzhak as saying. Shaham, he said, was a “very senior officer who made use of status, rank and authority as a tool to promote his sexual desires.”