Malka Leifer, Israel S. Ct. Overturns Decision to Release on Bail – Justice at Last?

Malka Leifer is led from the court by a police woman.

Israel’s Supreme Court overturns decision to release alleged paedophile Malka Leifer on bail

Israel’s Supreme Court has overturned a decision to release alleged paedophile Malka Leifer on bail.

Key points:

  • The Supreme Court rejected an order by the Jerusalem District Court to release Malka Leifer to house arrest
  • Victoria Police is attempting to extradite her to Australia to face the child sexual abuse charges
  • Ms Leifer has fought against her extradition on mental health grounds since 2014

Victoria Police is seeking to extradite Ms Leifer to face 74 charges of sexual abuse against students at the Adass Israel Jewish girls school in Melbourne, where she was the principal.

The Supreme Court judge who ruled in their favour, Anat Baron, mentioned concerns during the appeal about Ms Leifer seeking to evade extradition, as she left Australia hours after allegations against her surfaced in 2008.

 

Ms Leifer has been fighting extradition to Australia on mental health grounds since 2014.

The extradition stalled after a court ruled she had a debilitating mental illness and was not fit to be sent to Australia to face charges.

But private investigators commissioned by the group Jewish Community Watch filmed Ms Leifer shopping, socialising and going into Tel Aviv to cash welfare cheques, despite her telling the court she was housebound and catatonic.

That led Israeli police to arrest her on suspicion of obstruction of justice and she was jailed in February 2018, although that particular case against her has not progressed in Israel’s courts.

The country’s Deputy Health Minister, Yaakov Litzman, has also been accused of trying to stop the extradition by pressuring the Jerusalem District Psychiatrist to find Ms Leifer mentally unfit for extradition.

Police have recommended he be indicted for abusing his authority, but he denies any wrongdoing or that he sought to help Ms Leifer because she is from the same Jewish Orthodox sect.

On Thursday (local time), the Supreme Court of Israel rejected an order by the Jerusalem District Court last week to release Ms Leifer from jail to house arrest while her extradition case is underway.

One of Ms Leifer’s alleged victims, Dassi Erlich, welcomed the decision.

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