Malka Leifer trial set for next year

October 21, 2021 by AAP
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Former ultra-orthodox school principal Malka Leifer will stand trial on child sexual abuse charges in Melbourne next year.

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

Leifer, 55, pleaded not guilty to 70 charges of child sexual abuse after being ordered to stand trial earlier this month, and just days later an additional 20 charges of the same nature were filed against her.

She is alleged to have abused sisters Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper during her time at the Adass Israel School in Melbourne’s inner suburbs between 2004 and 2008.

Leifer faced a directions hearing in Victoria’s County Court on Thursday when Judicial Registrar Matthew Phillips confirmed her case would go to trial in 2022.

“It certainly will be next year,” he confirmed, adding it would be listed as quickly as legal teams could get organised.

He said he was mindful Leifer had been in custody for a lengthy period of time and was keen to progress the case.

Leifer appeared again by video link from Melbourne’s Dame Phyllis Frost women’s prison. She said nothing during the hearing and sat with her head down, resting a hand on her chin.

The trial is expected to take three to four weeks, with evidence from the three complainants.

Prosecutor Stephanie Clancy noted Ms Sapper would be unavailable to give evidence between mid-May and August next year, so a trial would need to be arranged around those dates.

Prosecutors have been given until February to put together their indictment and summary of allegations, with defence granted until March 4 to respond.

Leifer’s case is due back in the County Court on March 16.

From Karen Sweeney in Melbourne/AAP

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