THE extradition hearing for alleged child sexual abuser Malka Leifer has concluded, with Jerusalem District Court Judge Chana Lomp set to hand down her decision on September 21.
During the three-and-a-half hour session, the defence argued that the former principal of the Adass Israel ultra-Orthodox girls’ school in Melbourne had not exploited the accusing sisters because they were around consenting age at the time of the alleged abuse.
The prosecution dismissed the argument, pointing out that Leifer was a figure of authority over the alleged victims and their testimony shows that she threatened to badmouth them in the community if they did not comply.
Israeli state prosecutor Avital Ribner-Oron speaks to media outside court, stating today's hearing was a "significant…
In a statement on Monday night, alleged victim Dassi Erlich said the extradition hearing was “a pivotal milestone”.
“It’s been extremely difficult to hear, even more so that we couldn’t be there to represent ourselves in court,” Erlich said.
“The amount of victim blaming was disheartening and traumatising.
“We didn’t expect that in the year of 2020, the issue of consent is discussed in relation to sexual abuse.
“We were minors, she was our principal. A complete imbalance of power – we trusted her! Our day in court is coming,” she added.
Zionist Federation of Australia president Jeremy Leibler welcomed the commencement of Leifer’s extradition hearing, but expressed concern that the decision would not be made for two months.
“For too long Leifer’s alleged victims have had to wait to see her face justice,” Leibler said.
“Leifer’s defence at this hearing must have been extraordinarily hurtful for Dassi, Elly and Nicole.
“Throughout this process they have exemplified dignity and courage. The appalling treatment meted out to them today by Leifer’s legal team was shameful.”
Further coverage in this week’s AJN, out Thursday.
Each hearing is painful. Every delay is unfair. But the sisters pursue justice with grace, dignity and strength.
And we stand with them.#BringLeiferBack
— Josh Burns (@joshburnsmp) July 20, 2020