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      Judge Backs 'Harsh Sentences' for Violent Offenders

      Superior Court Judge Noam Solberg says violent street fights have become too common, backs heavy judicial responses
      By Gabe Kahn
      First Publish: 5/17/2012, 4:41 PM

      Noam Solberg
      Noam Solberg
      פלאש 90

      Superior Court Judge Noam Solberg denied the appeal of four Arabs who complained their sentences were too harsh, ruling "sentences for violent crime must be severe."

      Solberg's ruling pertained to four Arabs sentenced to a fight in Afula that resulted in one person being killed, and another being wounded.

      The District Court had acquitted the four for the manslaughter charge that arose from the stabbing due to inconsistencies in witness testimony, but decided to sentence the four to a year in jail for their participation in a "violent fight" even though prosecutors did not include it in the indictment.

      Solberg stated that the prosecutor's decision not to charge the four with the assault, but only manslaughter, was irrelevant to their conviction, citing an Israeli law that says, "the court may convict a defendant of an offense of which his guilt was determined from facts presented in proceedings, even if they were not included in the indictment, provided the defendant had reasonable opportunity to defend themselves."

      He also concluded that the penalty levied on the four was proper and proportionate, "The truth of the matter is that the appellants were ultimately not convicted of manslaughter, but only of participation in a violent fight."

      However, Solberg emphasized that the appellants were involved in an incident that resulted in the "cutting down of a human life for no sensible reason or purpose, for trifles. A young person with everything ahead of them. For the bereaved family, the court has no suitable cure or remedy for their loss."

      "Unfortunately," Solberg went on. "The phenomenon of street fighting, which in this case ended in injury and death, has become a common theme in our courts. Participation in a fight that ends with the death of a person merits a harsh response, and this must be expressed in the great weight of the sentence."