Malka Leifer is wanted in Australia for 74 counts of child sexual abuse. (ABC News: Sophie McNeill)
Alleged victims of an Israeli teacher accused of sexually abusing girls at a Melbourne school said they are distraught and angry about further delays in their extradition case.
- The legal argument about the mental competence of Mrs. Leifer will continue until mid-March
- Extradition proceedings began in 2014 but were suspended
- There are questions about psychiatric evaluations that determined that Mrs. Leifer is not fit for trial
The Jerusalem District Court granted the lawyers of the former director of the Adass Israel girls’ school, Malka Leifer, time to question members of a psychiatric panel who discovered that the 54-year-old woman had been faking a mental illness to Avoid extradition.
The panel is intended to be the final evaluation of Mrs. Leifer’s mental fitness after more than 30 previous exams, many of which found her mentally competent to face a trial.
The Office of the Prosecutor of the State of Israel took advantage of its conclusions to press for a faster resolution to the extradition hearing, so Ms. Leifer could be sent to Australia to face 74 charges of sexual abuse.
“The findings of the psychiatric panel lead to the inevitable conclusion that in the past five years, the court and the mental health system have been victims of fraud perpetrated by Leifer and his supporters,” he said in a press release before the court hearing
But instead of proceeding to the extradition hearing, the legal argument about Ms. Leifer’s mental competence will continue until at least mid-March.
“It is very, very annoying to have a judge who not only stands up and says: ‘I asked for a panel, I received an answer, this is what will happen next, thank you very much,'” said victim Nicole Meyer said.
Alleged victim Nicole Meyer says she and her two sisters were abused. (Australian history: Mark Farnell)
“Instead, we have to go through another traumatic and exhausting court hearing.”
The Melbourne woman claims that she and two of her sisters, Dassi Erlich and Elly Sapper, were sexually abused by their high school principal, Mrs. Leifer.
“I don’t know how I’m going to sleep tonight, I’m too upset and exhausted,” Meyer said.
There will be at least two more days of cross-examination before the court rules on Mrs. Leifer’s mental fitness and possibly proceeds to an extradition hearing.
“We had requested that the court expedite these proceedings against Malka Leifer and the court was open to that,” attorney Avital Ribner Oron, of the Office of the State Prosecutor of Israel, told ABC.
“We are optimistic that we will make a decision on this issue very soon.”
Extradition proceedings against Ms. Leifer began in 2014, but were suspended two years later when her lawyers successfully argued that she was too mentally ill to face a trial.
But she was arrested in February 2018 when a hidden camera investigation by the sexual abuse watchdog Jewish Community Watch, later corroborated by the Israeli police, revealed that she lived a normal life of shopping, socialization and displacement, in contrast to the claims of His lawyers. catatonic and disabled by mental illness.
There are also questions about psychiatric evaluations that found that Mrs. Leifer was not fit for trial.
The Israeli police recommended that the country’s vice minister of health, Yaakov Litzman, who is from the same ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect as Mrs. Leifer, be accused of pressuring state psychiatrists to change their assessments of their mental state to avoid his extradition.
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