After hearing the evidence against the accused, the Honorable Judge Hagay Tarassi of the “Hashalom Court of Netanya”, delivered his decision (The State of Israel versus “Ploni” Tik Plili: 48038-03-10).
The verdict (after the defendant had been found guilty by the court):
“After hearing the evidence against the accused, convicted of leaving (abandonment ) a child without supervision.”
I will summarize the verdict making it easier to understand.
On Saturday, 25.4.09, in the afternoon, the accused (the defendant) was to return his two minor daughters (aged 2-1/2 and 5-1/2) to his future ex-wife with whom he was in the process of divorce. Although he knew that the mother was staying at her parents’ house in Ashdod and unable to return home immediately to look after the girls, he left them in her house alone – completely alone without supervision.
Abandonment of young children without any supervision, even in the house in which they live, places them at high risk of danger to their well-being. Such conduct exposes them to a wide range of risks, and who knows what might have happened. In case of any injury the possibility of little ones obtaining help and required treatment is very limited.
Therefore, we should look into this case as a very serious event, especially when the accused used his children as a weapon in his divorce proceedings. Although the mother responded quickly in finding a solution (until she was able to get home to her children) to preventing the children from being harmed, the accused act of abandonment was done without any regret on the father’s part.
The defendant chose to use his rights and defend his case to the very end. By choosing this path he lost his rights to have the court’s sympathy and possibility of delivering a soft verdict on him. He should have saved the court’s precious time and acknowledged his wrong-doing; which he still hasn’t to this day.
On the other hand, we are dealing with a 41 year-old man, who was never indicted before, never committed any crime and was a very good father to his children (with the exception of this incident of abandonment). His relationship with them returned to normal a short time after the incident. The social services also had the same opinion, finding the defendant to be a positive person and a good father they indicated that “This was an exceptional event which did not happen again since then and it is not the defendant’s normal behavior.”
A smart Judge can change one’s life:
The prosecution insisted on sending the convicted father behind bars or sentencing him with a suspended prison term, or at least sentencing him to hours of “forced labor” (working for a number of hours in a government designated institution with no pay) in addition to a heavy fine.
Despite the prosecution’s insistence, the Honorable Judge decided differently.
The Judge ordered a punishment that took into consideration “looking at the future”; not only the father’s future, but also that of the mother and the children.
If the Judge was to send the defendant to jail or give him extended hours of “work”, the stable relationship between the family members would be severely affected.
The Judge wrote in his decision of how the relationship between all of the sides had improved now. The divorce was finalized; the father was paying children alimony on time and was actually a good father for the children.
If the punishment disrupted this balance, the entire family would suffer. It would be a collective punishment; therefore the father was sentenced to a six month suspended prison term for a “trial period” of 3 years in addition to a not heavy fine.
It could have been different:
Many things could have gone wrong when the father left the children alone but fortunately that didn’t happen.
The Judge could have decided to send the defendant to jail or ordered many hours of forced work. This would certainly have destroyed any hope of a functioning family despite the divorce.
The dynamics of a divorce are very powerful. Feelings are always strong and we are compelled to do things we may regret in the future.
Children are not weapons or even contenders in the divorce process. Leave them alone and don’t make the mistake of using them.