Ministers back bill to limit duration of police investigations
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Ministers back bill to limit duration of police investigations

New law to set maximum time for prosecutors to examine evidence before filing charges

Illustrative: An Israeli policewoman attends the scene of a stabbing attack in Jerusalem's Old City on March 11, 2016. (Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Illustrative: An Israeli policewoman attends the scene of a stabbing attack in Jerusalem's Old City on March 11, 2016. (Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Ministers on Sunday approved a bill that would limit the amount of time permitted for criminal investigations by police.

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation voted to support the proposed legislation by MKs Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) and Nissan Slomiansky (Jewish Home) to end protracted investigations for relatively minor crimes.

Currently, there is no limit on how long police investigations can continue. During this time a suspect may lose social standing, suffer financially or be affected in the workplace. Once the legislation is passed by the government there will be limits on how long any investigation can continue.

The new law proposed that for a misdemeanor, the investigation may not continue for more than six months. For a felony, the maximum length of time permitted for the investigation would be one year. For any crime carrying a maximum jail sentence of between three and ten years, the investigation must be completed within two years. The law will not impose any limits on investigations of crimes which carry a possible sentence of more than ten years.

The Attorney General will have the authority, in exceptional cases, to extend the time of an investigation by up to six months at a time.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan supported the proposal and met with representatives from the Justice Ministry and the Israel Police beforehand to ensure that the new law would not prevent law enforcement authorities from performing their duties and to modify it based on their recommendations.

“It is important to guarantee that investigations are quick and efficient,” said Erdan.

Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich said the modifications suggested by the police prior to the bill’s approval were important and would enable police “to do their work and investigate. Without these corrections there was a danger that criminals would be able to escape prosecution.”

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