Australian Malka Leifer, right, is brought to a courtroom in Jerusalem. Picture: AP
Australian Malka Leifer, right, is brought to a courtroom in Jerusalem. Picture: AP

Prosecutors want Leifer case fast-tracked

Prosecutors have demanded a fast-tracked extradition hearing for former Melbourne teacher Malka Leifer who is wanted in Australia on child sex abuse charges.

Lawyers from Israel's Department of International Affairs put in an official request to the court on Tuesday morning Australian time, seeking for the process to be sped up.

Former Adass Israel School principal Malka Leifer. Picture: Supplied
Former Adass Israel School principal Malka Leifer. Picture: Supplied

The case, which has already been before Israeli courts 63 times, has yet to have a formal date set for an extradition trial to see if Leifer can be sent back to Australia to face 74 charges of sexual abuse.

The case has been bogged down in whether Leifer, who remains in custody, was fit to face trial despite a medical report finding that she was a fraud and that her mental illness was not genuine.

Prosecutor Aviad Eliya. Picture: Ella Pellegrini
Prosecutor Aviad Eliya. Picture: Ella Pellegrini

 

Defence lawyer Tal Gabay. Picture: Ella Pellegrini
Defence lawyer Tal Gabay. Picture: Ella Pellegrini

"During the previous hearing in this case on January 14, 2020, the court suggested possible dates for the cross-examination of the members of the psychiatric panel, and stated that the final dates would be scheduled after taking into account the panel members' availability on said dates," prosecutors said in a statement.

"Despite the importance of conducting swift and efficient proceedings, the court has yet to schedule the cross-examination, nor has the court issued a decision on the prosecution's previous request to adopt the panel's conclusions and schedule a hearing, as well as set a date for a final decision regarding the extradition petition.

"In light of the above, the court was requested to schedule the hearings as soon as possible."

 

Sisters Dassi Erlich and Nicole Meyer claims Malka Leifer abused them in Melbourne. Picture: Supplied
Sisters Dassi Erlich and Nicole Meyer claims Malka Leifer abused them in Melbourne. Picture: Supplied

Leifer was accused of the abuse while she was head of the ultra-orthodox Adass Israel school in Melbourne's Elsternwick.

She fled to Israel in 2008 when the allegations surfaced, allegedly with help from people at the school.

Lawyers for Leifer said outside her latest court hearing earlier this month that it was "not over until it was over."

Malka Leifer's sister leaves court. Picture: Ella Pellegrini
Malka Leifer's sister leaves court. Picture: Ella Pellegrini

In court they were running arguments that the video footage used to find Leifer was facing her illness could not be used as evidence and wanted the case thrown out.

Leifer's son was in the court, along with her sister.

The court agreed to allow the defence lawyers to cross examine the expert witnesses who found that Leifer was faking her illness.

But those hearings could take until at least March 18.

Malka Leifer's brother and sister. Picture: Ella Pellegrini
Malka Leifer's brother and sister. Picture: Ella Pellegrini

Manny Waks, of Jewish support group Kol v'Oz, said the case should be a priority.

"We have seen 63 hearings to date, this needs to be the top priority for the Israeli courts," he said.

He supported prosecutors calls for a trial date to be set.

 

stephen.drill@news.co.uk


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