ALLEGED child sexual abuser Malka Leifer will learn in the coming weeks if her appeal against the Jerusalem District Court’s September decision to extradite her to Australia is successful.
Last week marked the 74th court hearing in the long-running case, in which the former Melbourne principal is wanted in Victoria on 74 charges of child sex abuse stemming from her time as principal of the Adass Israel School in Elsternwick.
The Supreme Court hearing in Israel saw Leifer’s lawyers reiterate claims made previously, including that she would not receive a fair trial in Australia and that the alleged abuse was consensual.
“These arguments are always difficult to hear, but once Leifer faces an Australian court we will have a chance to speak our truth,” alleged victim Dassi Erlich said after the appeal hearing.
The three-judge panel hearing the appeal consisted of the same justices who had unanimously rejected an appeal from the defence seeking to overturn a psychiatric panel’s finding that Leifer had been faking mental illness to avoid extradition.
If the Supreme Court once again rules against the defence, Leifer’s extradition will be placed before Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn for his signature.
Today, #courtdate74 was heard in the Supreme Court – an appeal by Leifer against her extradition.
The defense lawyer threw many arguments including (again) that the abuse was consensual and that Leifer wouldn't get a fair trial in Australia……
— Dassi Erlich #bringleiferback (@dassi_erlich) December 3, 2020
However, Leifer’s lawyers can also appeal the Justice Minister’s decision.
In a statement following the hearing, child sex abuse victims’ advocate Manny Waks said, “Arguments that Leifer’s victims may have consented to repeated sexual assaults by their ultra-Orthodox headmistress amounts to ‘victim-blaming’ and should have no place” in a judicial system.
If Nissenkorn signs off on the extradition, Israel will have 60 days to place Leifer on a plane to Australia.
It has been more than six years since Victoria Police filed an extradition request with Israel to bring Leifer back.