Leifer fails to show
At a hearing in the Jerusalem District Court Sunday the Judge issued a ruling that Malka Leifer, former principal of the Adass Yisroel Girls School in Melbourne, accused of sexual abuse, be re-evaluated by a State psychiatrist.
Her fight to avoid extradition to Australia to stand trial has dragged on for 18 months. She has so far successfully evaded being sent back because of alleged panic attacks every time a court hearing has been set. This time, her defence lawyer unsuccessfully argued to have the case dismissed because of his client’s medical condition. However on this occasion the judge rejected the plea and ordered another evaluation by a state psychiatrist which will be presented to the court on 20 March at which time he will decide on if and how the case should proceed.
The State prosecutor maintained that Malka Leifer’s panic attacks were designed to permanently postpone her return to Australia and that the question of whether she was fit to stand trial was a matter for the Australian courts to decide.
The former principal at Melbourne’s Adass Israel girls’ school fled Australia in 2008 ahead of formal complaints.
Although this case has been virtually ignored by the Israeli media in the past, it now seems that local support groups of sexual abuse s are rallying behind the victims and demanding that the matter be speedily resolved.
The Australian reported that the district psychiatrist who has been instructed by the court to examine Leifer had evaluated Leifer before and “found she was not faking her symptoms”.
The State prosecutor is reported as having said that Leifer had no interest in getting well and that her state of health in regarding to facing a trial “was not one for the Israeli court to consider adding ‘this discussion os for Australia'”.
Manny Waks, himself a sex abuse victim at a Melbourne Yeshiva school, who now lives in Israel, expressed frustration that Malka Leifer has managed to evade facing trial for so long but at the same time he was gratified that at long last the Israeli court seemed determined to expedite proceedings.
Waks told J-Wire: “I’m pleased that the judge has rejected Ms Leifer’s legal team’s request to dismiss the case. I look forward to the psychiatrist’s recommendations after a comprehensive review of the case. Most importantly, I hope that we see justice for the numerous alleged victims.”