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Police to Compensate Family over Arrest of Minor

Court orders police to pay damages to Jewish family in Samaria, after prolonged detention of child without informing parents.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 12/16/2013, 6:35 PM

Court (illustrative)
Court (illustrative)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Judge Abraham Rubin, Vice President of the Jerusalem Magistrate Court, has ordered police to compensate a family from the Samarian community of Shvut Ami, after a minor was detained in Ariel without his parents being notified. 

In March 2011, the boy was arrested as part of a group of teenagers, who were alleged to have trespassed on military territory near the Samaria outpost. His friends were arrested on suspicions of attacking police officers. While the boy was not - he was simply taken in for questioning as part of the preliminary stages of the investigation - the Ariel police forces detained him anyway, and neglected to tell his parents, the suit claims.

Attorney Itamar Ben Gvir filed a damages claim on the minor's behalf against the police on two grounds: false arrest, and delaying notifying the parents of the arrest. 

Judge Rubin dismissed the aspect of the case regarding a false arrest of a minor. He ruled that while the minor's detainment was prolonged illegally - at least an hour and a quarter over the time limit -  the detention of a minor himself was legal, because the police had the right to investigate the attack. 

However, the second part of the claim was accepted. The judge ruled that investigator did not inform the parents of the minor of the arrest as required by law; he noted that the policeman changed his story multiple times when recounting precisely when he called the plaintiff's parents.

As such, the Justice ruled, the policeman's testimony that he called the parents at 11:00 p.m. on the night of the arrest - before the questioning - does not hold muster to other witness testimony and the plaintiff's claims that the policeman forgot to call the parents until approximately 4:00 a.m. the next morning. Furthermore, when the parents did not pick up that call, the policeman delayed the call even further - not notifying the minor's parents until noon the following day, according to witness testimony. 

The court found the police guilty of negligence. "We are talking about a case where a minor is being held and there is a great interest in preserving his rights [during the investigation]," the Justice ruled. "Although the police investigator acted in good faith, [police forces] should not forget the regulations under which an investigation can be conducted, especially while on the night shift."

The judge also rejected the police's claim that since the minor confessed to having trespassed on military grounds, he waived his rights to make a damages claim against the investigator. 

The police were ordered to pay 2000 shekel (about $570) in damages, and another 1000 shekel ($283) in legal fees.