As EU’s Borrell speaks with FM Ashkenazi, no mention of annexation – The Times of Israel

Posted By on May 27, 2020

Judge to hand down fateful ruling on whether Malka Leifer fit to face justice

The Jerusalem District Court is slated to hand down a fateful decision in the six-year trial of Malka Leifer, who is wanted in Australia on 74 counts of child sex abuse.

Judge Miriam Lomp will determine whether Leifer is mentally fit for extradition to face justice in Australia.

The hearing is scheduled to start at 2 p.m.

Sitting here together with my sisters, [we are] a bundle of a nervous energy, [but] cant imagine a ruling where Leifers manipulation of the court system does not come to an end, Dassi Erlich tells The Times of Israel in a text message sent from her home in Melbourne where she is waiting along with her sisters Nicole Meyer and Elie Sapper to receive an update regarding Lomps decision. The three women have led a public campaign demanding that their alleged abuser be returned to Australia.

During the previous hearing, Leifer had been ordered to be present at todays session after years of not attending the proceedings. However, due to the coronavirus, the court agreed to allow her to once again refrain from attending.

If found fit for extradition, the defense is likely to appeal the matter to the Supreme Court. If that appeal is rejected, the district court will then move forward with the extradition hearing itself a largely procedural matter that is expected to be approved quickly (though the trial has been plagued by delays). The defense will then be allowed to appeal before Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn will be asked to sign off on Leifers extradition. This signature too can be appealed by Leifers attorneys before the alleged serial pedophile can be placed on a plane to Australia.

Leifer faces counts of sexual assault related to accusations brought forward by the three sisters, who say they were abused while she was a teacher and principal at the ultra-Orthodox religious school they attended in Melbourne. In 2008, as the allegations surfaced, the Israeli-born Leifer left the school in Australia and returned to Israel.

In this photo from February 27, 2018, Malka Leifer, right, is brought to a courtroom in Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean, File)

After Australia filed an extradition request, Leifer was put under house arrest in 2014 and underwent the beginnings of an extradition process. But that ended in 2016 when a mental health evaluation determined she wasnt fit to stand trial.

Leifer was again arrested in early 2018 after police found evidence that she had faked her mental incompetence. The court asked for another psychological review, whose findings were handed down in January by a medical panel that unanimously determined Leifer has been feigning mental illness in order to avoid extradition to Australia, and assessed her as fit to stand trial.

The proceedings have been plagued with repeated delays, which allegedly had to do with former health minister Yaakov Litzman pressuring state psychiatrists to change their submitted medical opinions to find Leifer unfit for extradition. One of the psychiatrists alleged to have been influenced by Litzman, Chief Jerusalem District Psychiatrist Jacob Charnes, changed his medical conclusion regarding Leifers mental health three times since the case began, causing significant delays in the process. Police last year recommended that Litzman, who is a member of the Gur Hassidic sect to which Leifer has ties, be indicted for fraud and breach of trust over his conduct in the case.

The delays have caused tensions between Jerusalem and Canberra, with the latter for years demanding that the proceedings be moved along at a quicker pace.

Jacob Magid

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As EU's Borrell speaks with FM Ashkenazi, no mention of annexation - The Times of Israel

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