Former principal Malka Leifer has filed an appeal in Israel against a bid to extradite her to Australia to face 74 child sex abuse charges.
Former principal Malka Leifer has filed an appeal in Israel against a bid to extradite her to Australia to face 74 child sex abuse charges.

Fugitive sex abuse accused teacher appeals extradition loss

Fugitive teacher Malka Leifer has filed an appeal in Israel against a bid to extradite her to Australia to face 74 child sex abuse charges.

The former principal at Melbourne's Adass Israel School in Elsternwick has challenged the Jerusalem District Court's decision that she was fit to face an extradition hearing.

That case was still to be heard this month but Leifer's lawyers have also sought to stop any attempt to send her to Australia.

Manny Waks, of Jewish sexual abuse victims rights group Kol v'Oz, said Leifer's legal team had been expected to file an appeal after a significant court decision against her in May.

"Of course, every defendant is entitled to due process, so we will anxiously await the outcome of this process," he said.

 

"However, based on the evidence, and as someone who has followed this case very closely, I expect this appeal to be promptly overturned, and for Leifer to be extradited to Australia in the near future."

Israeli media reported details of the legal challenge on Wednesday night Australian time.

There has been no date set for an appeal to the decision that Leifer was able to face an extradition hearing, with the move seen as a last-ditch effort to delay the case.

The Jerusalem District Court still has the extradition case scheduled to begin on July 20, after Judge Miriam Lomp accepted a psychiatric report that Leifer was fit to stand trial.

That hearing will be the 68th court date in the long running legal battle.

Leifer has been accused of the sexual abuse of three Melbourne sisters, Dassi Erlich, Elly Sapper and Nicole Meyer.

The sisters have been campaigning for justice since Leifer fled Australia in 2008, shortly after they had told the school of their complaint.

Leifer moved to Israel where she was living in an ultra orthodox area in Jerusalem and after she was arrested in 2013 claimed that she was mentally unfit to face an extradition hearing.

Former Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu warned last month that there was still a "long way to go" in the case.

The legal wrangle has caused political tensions between Israel and Australia.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin called Prime Minister Scott Morrison after the decision in May that Leifer was fit to stand trial.

Federal Labor MP Josh Burns had met with Mr Rivlin in Canberra in February where he sought answers on the delays in the case.

Leifer's legal team shouted in the foyer of the Jerusalem District Courtroom in January that the case was "not over until it was over."

*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.

stephen.drill@news.com.au

Originally published as Fugitive teacher Leifer appeals



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