THE long-awaited extradition trial of Malka Leifer will go ahead on Monday, July 20 after a last-ditch attempt by her lawyers to postpone the hearing was denied by Israel’s Supreme Court.
It comes as politicians and Jewish community leaders in Australia expressed their disappointment last week after lawyers for the alleged child sexual abuser lodged an appeal over a May ruling that found Leifer was mentally fit to stand trial for extradition.
And in a further twist to the long-running legal proceedings, another lawyer representing Leifer has filed a civil suit against the Israel Prisons Service (IPS) for negligence. Leifer’s defence argues that if indeed a psychiatric panel was correct in determining Leifer has been faking mental illness, the IPS has been negligently prescribing her with anti-psychotic medication for years.
Leifer’s alleged victim Dassi Erlich said the appeal by Leifer’s legal team was “expected”, but she lamented the latest civil action.
“The prison defends their treatment in the civil suit – they believe Leifer is unwell,” Erlich said.
“Leifer’s lawyers take this statement and use it as ‘new information’ in an appeal declaring Leifer is not fit!
“So, in the civil suit – she is fit to stand trial in order to sue negligence, but in their appeal she is not fit to stand trial.”
Macnamara MP Josh Burns, who has been campaigning for Leifer to face justice in Australia, said the appeal was “disappointing but not surprising”.
However, “It is good news that the Supreme Court rejected Leifer’s latest appeal to delay her extradition hearing,” he said.
“Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper have been waiting for justice for far too long.”
Stating, “The cynicism of Leifer’s legal team runs very deep,” Zionist Federation of Australia president Jeremy Leibler said, “For a time, Leifer successfully hoodwinked the state into thinking she was mentally unfit to stand trial, so of course she was administered medication in line with the diagnosis her legal team sought.
“By attempting to sue the state for doing so, they’ve highlighted the falsity of their previous claims.”
He added, “As the courageous Dassi Erlich has noted, Leifer’s lawyers are claiming she is fit to stand trial in a civil suit, but not in an extradition trial. It is shameful.”
An appeal date has yet to be set.