Leifer allegations aired in closed court

September 14, 2021 by  
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Former school principal Malka Leifer, who was extradited from Israel to face child sexual abuse charges, has heard evidence from her accusers in the second day of closed court hearings.

Malka Leifer, a former school principal, who is wanted on 74 charges of sexual abuse in Melbourne, Australia, is led out of the Jerusalem District Court. Jerusalem, Jun 14, 2018. Photo by Hillel Maeir/TPS

Sisters Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper are giving evidence one at a time against Leifer, who prosecutors allege abused the women between 2004 and 2008.

Leifer was the principal of Melbourne’s ultra-Orthodox Adass Israel School at the time.

Israeli-born Leifer returned to her home country shortly after accusations were raised in 2008.

After a years-long extradition process, she returned to Australia in January this year to face charges that were laid in 2012.

The 55-year-old is accused of 74 offences. They are 47 indecent assault charges, 13 counts of committing an indecent act with a child, 11 of rape and three of sexually penetrating a child.

Her accusers were last year granted a court order allowing them to speak publicly and under their real names.

But their evidence, including the details of Leifer’s alleged offending against them, is being heard in a closed court with only lawyers, magistrate Johanna Metcalf and Leifer allowed to be present with the accused attending via videolink.

Once their evidence is complete, the court will re-open for six other witnesses, including clinical psychologist Dr Vicki Gordon and former Adass Israel School teachers Esther Spiegelmen and Sharon Bromberg.

Former school counsellor Chana Rabinowitz will give evidence from Israel.

Victoria Police investigator, Detective Senior Constable Danielle Newton is expected to give evidence on Thursday. No Jewish witnesses will appear on that day, which is the high holy day Yom Kippur.

Leifer has also been granted an exemption from appearing on Thursday.

Report from Karen Sweeney/AAP 

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