Former Melbourne teacher Malka Leifer is facing extradition to Australia over child sex charges. Picture: Franck Bessiere
Former Melbourne teacher Malka Leifer is facing extradition to Australia over child sex charges. Picture: Franck Bessiere

Sex-charge teacher loses appeal

Former Melbourne teacher Malka Leifer will face a new psychiatric panel to determine if she can be extradited to Australia on child sex charges.

Israel's Supreme Court dismissed her appeal against a new health test, making her return to Australia a step closer.

Leifer, who fled to Israel in 2008 to escape the sexual abuse charges relating to her time at Melbourne's ultra-orthodox Adass Israel school, has repeatedly delayed her case.

Supreme Court Judge David Mintz rejected her latest delaying tactic, upholding the decision of a lower court.

"The district court ruled that there was a doubt that warranted further clarification regarding the appellant's mental state and therefore ordered the appointment of an expert panel. I see no grounds for intervention in this matter," he said.

Malka Leifer during a previous court appearance in Israel.
Malka Leifer during a previous court appearance in Israel.

Judge Mintz said there had been contradicting reports of Leifer's health and they needed to be clarified.

Manny Waks, of Jewish support charity Kol V'Oz welcomed the decision.

"I'm pleased that the Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal by Leifer's defence, which means she will be compelled to undergo a psychiatric panel assessment," he said.

"We expect next week's decisive hearing will rely on the findings of this panel, which we believe will find that Malka Leifer is indeed fit to face justice and that the extradition process will finally recommence.

"This ongoing farce must end, and justice must prevail - for Leifer's victims and for other victims who are being deterred from pursuing justice."

Video footage taken of Malka Leifer showing her living a normal life in Israel, led to her rearrest. Picture: Jewish Community Watch
Video footage taken of Malka Leifer showing her living a normal life in Israel, led to her rearrest. Picture: Jewish Community Watch

Leifer was appealing an earlier court decision that she be submitted to a new psychiatric panel to decide whether she was well enough to be sent to Australia to face charges.

Leifer's lawyer Tal Gabay said that his client had already been through psychiatric tests.

He claimed there was more than reasonable doubt to drop the case and argued against the new tests.

The court heard that the details of Leifer paying her bills and talking on the phone to her daughter did not mean that she was faking a mental illness.

He claimed that a review of financial statements showed that Leifer's husband and uncle had been making the payments.

"What else do we need?" Mr Gabay asked.

 

Judge David Mintz replied: "You know the answer, we need the panel."

Prosecutor Matan Akiva said that Leifer's challenge was unwarranted and urged the court to let the district court's decision stand.

Leifer was a teacher at Melbourne's ultra orthodox Adass Israel school.

She was accused of abusing female students during her time as principal before fleeing to Israel in 2008.

Leifer was arrested in 2014, but freed because of a mental illness.

Video footage taken showed her living a normal life in Israel led to her rearrest.

There have been 61 court hearings in her case so far and a court had earlier planned to allow her to be bailed to her sister's home but that was overturned.

 

stephen.drill@news.co.uk


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