Leifer case stalls again

January 15, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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In spite of a call to expedite the extradition hearing to return Malka Leifer to Melbourne where she is facing 74 charges for child sexual abuse, a Jerusalem court has accepted her defence argument to cross-examine psychiatrists who have found her fit to face court.

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

Child sexual abuse advocate Manny Waks was at the District Court and reports:

At today’s the 63rd hearing in the Malka Leifer case, Judge Miriam Lomp presented the psychiatric panel’s decision that Leifer is fit to stand trial, and is, in fact, feigning mental illness.

The defence (unsurprisingly) requested a delay of the extradition hearing.

The defence argued that the new panel is irrelevant, as all that they were able to judge was based on a clinical assessment, which is irrelevant to what is necessary to prove that Leifer is fit to stand trial. The judge rejected the argument.

The defence requested and will get a chance to question the panel on their decision, and how they reached it. The prosecution agreed with this and requested that it be undertaken as soon as possible.

The defence also sought to have one day of cross-examination for each of the three panellists. Judge Lomp will rule on this at the same time as she decides on which days the hearings will take place, probably late February or even in March. The prosecution believes the cross-examination can be concluded in one day and would like the hearing scheduled as early as possible.

The prosecution must hand over all the relevant material regarding the panel’s assessment to the defence.

Three sisters Dassi Erlich Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper, victims of the alleged abuser said: “We are utterly exhausted and dismayed that after an hour and a half, we still feel no closer to justice. It is obvious that Leifer is playing the system, how much longer will we allow justice to be perverted?

We would have hoped that after another panel confirms she’s faking her illness, things would move quicker. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case. These delays are unacceptable.”

Manny Waks CEO of the child sexual abuse advocacy group Kol V’Oz added: “As far as we’re concerned, what we saw today is unacceptable. It was emblematic of what we have seen until now – chaotic scenes inside the court-room, with the defence seemingly running proceedings at times.

It’s very disappointing to see that the defence’s strategy of delaying justice is proceeding as they planned and stated in the past.

We hope that Judge Lomp will take more control of this case and expedite the process.

While so much focus has been on Leifer’s non-existing mental illness, we must think about the courageous sisters – Nicole, Dassi & Elly – who have publicly shared the significant toll these hearings continue to take on them. We must put their interests and well-being front and centre.

Sadly, this case continues to reflect poorly on Israel’s reputation.

We will continue to do everything in our power to see justice prevail, which ultimately means the extradition of Leifer to Australia to face the many serious charges against her.”

Zionist Federation of Australia President Jeremy Leibler welcomed the findings of the psychiatric panel but expressed frustration that the panel won’t be cross-examined for another month. “The presentation of the psychiatric panel’s report is most welcome”, he said, “but another month-long delay until the panel is cross-examined is not good enough. While due process must be followed, we hoped the Court would be expeditious given the definitive nature of the panel’s findings.”

Mr Leibler also praised Monday’s submission by the State Attorney’s office. “The State Attorney’s intervention indicated Israel’s government is finally attuned to the seriousness of this issue in regards to the Australia-Israel relationship and the need for Leifer’s alleged victims to receive justice.”

He concluded, “We continue to stand with the victims of Leifer’s alleged abuse in their search for justice, and look forward to the cross-examination, the extradition trial, and for Leifer’s appearance in an Australian court.”

The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council has also added its support. Executive director Dr Colin Rubenstein said: “AIJAC welcomes the finding by an expert psychiatric panel that Malka Leifer is fit to stand trial and has been feigning mental illness to prevent her extradition to Australia on 74 charges of child sex abuse.  However, AIJAC is extremely disappointed that it now appears cross-examination of the panel by her lawyers may take two or more months and will further delay a final extradition hearing.  We continue to offer our support and sympathy for the victims of her alleged crimes and also call for Ms Leifer’s return to Australia to face justice as soon as possible.”

 

Comments

One Response to “Leifer case stalls again”
  1. Gerald Moses says:

    I know of course that one must have respect for the Law.
    In this case it seems to me that Leifer and her legal people are playing us all for mugs.
    I am seriously considering withholding any donations to Israeli organisations until there is some final resolution to this matter.
    I would hate to think of the cost so far to Israel and its legal system in this matter.
    If Israel can afford to fund this debacle they can do without my meagre donation/s.
    It is a disgrace.

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