Court May Shorten Sentence of Man Who Threw Shoe at Beinisch

Pinchas Cohen was sentenced to three years in jail after hurling a shoe at the Supreme Court president.

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Gil Ronen, | updated: 13:00

Pinchas Cohen
Pinchas Cohen
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The court system appears to be preparing to ease the sentence of Pinchas (Pini) Cohen, 52, who hurled a shoe at Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch during a court hearing in January. In a session of the Magistrates' Court Sunday, Judge Musia Arad asked representatives of the State Prosecution and Cohen's attorneys to try and reach agreement regarding a shorter sentence.

Cohen, who was motivated by frustration over court decisions regarding child support payments he was unable to meet, threw the shoe with impressive accuracy from a range of about 22 feet, hitting Beinisch squarely on the face, knocking her off her buck-leather seat and breaking her glasses.

Cohen was roughed up by security men, arrested and speedily brought to trial. In June, Magistrates' Court Judge Shimon Feierberg ruled that Cohen would spend three years in jail, after determining that “through the deed of hurling an object at the President of the Supreme Court, in the course of a court session, the defendant challenged the entire judicial system.”

The three-year sentence came under fire from various quarters as unnecessarily harsh and vindictive.

In the court session Sunday morning, it appeared that the prosecution was also not opposed to shortening the sentence. The prosecution, not normally known for leniency when it comes to attacks on judges, informed the court that a shorter sentence could still be effectively deterrent. “Even a shorter sentence than three years can have these qualities,” it stated, “i.e. it can be prolonged, painful, effective and protective. If the court decides upon such a sentence, it will not be a lighter punishment but a less heavy one."