Leifer’s lawyers added that they wished the judge to issue a ruling on whether Leifer is mentally fit to stand trial without a determination from the panel.
Lawyers for alleged pedophile Malka Leifer informed the Jerusalem District Court on Tuesday that she would refuse to cooperate with a new psychiatric panel which is scheduled to convene and evaluate her mental fitness for extradition.
Attorneys Yehuda Fried and Tal Gabbai have opposed the formation of a new psychiatric panel, arguing that previous determinations that Leifer was unfit for extradition were based on partially inaccurate evidence, as pointed out by the presiding judge in the case, Judge Chana Miriam Lomp.
“We wish to inform the honorable court that we cannot agree to the establishment of the panel and we cannot agree that our client will take any part in a review that may be conducted by the panel,” they wrote to the court.
Leifer’s lawyers added that they were requesting that the court issue a ruling immediately on whether or not Leifer is mentally fit to stand extradition trial without a determination from the panel.
This would then give them the opportunity to appeal such a decision to the Supreme Court, should the judge decide to proceed with extradition hearings.
Manny Waks, a campaigner against sexual abuse in the Jewish community, said that Leifer’s lawyers were again trying to drag out the case to prevent their client from being extradited and facing justice in Australia.
“They’re trying to prolong this case as along as possible,” said Waks. “It’s a publicity stunt. There is no genuine grounds for this step, and ultimately the court will see through it and hopefully will compel Leifer to participate in the process.”
In September, Lomp issued a decision to establish a new psychiatric panel, stating that the various contradictory medical opinions that have been submitted regarding Leifer’s mental state required that a new expert panel be appointed to make a new, authoritative decision.
Leifer’s lawyers argued that this decision demonstrated the flaws in a previous psychiatric determination that she was feigning mental illness, and claimed further that it should have precluded any new expert panel.
Leifer fled from Australia to Israel in 2008 after allegations of sexual abuse surfaced against her, but legal proceedings in Israel for extradition only began in 2014.
After Leifer was arrested that year, she claimed mental illness to avoid extradition to Australia, a claim which was backed up by Jerusalem district psychiatrist Jacob Charnes, who submitted psychiatric opinions declaring her to be mentally unfit for extradition trial, ultimately leading to her release from detention.
In 2018, Leifer was rearrested on suspicion of feigning mental illness to avoid extradition, and Charnes then signed off on the written opinion of two other psychiatrists of the Jerusalem district declaring that they believed her to be feigning mental illness.
He subsequently backtracked on that position.
Complicating matters further, Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman is alleged to have met with Charnes during the course of proceedings against Leifer and unduly pressured him into submitting a false opinion declaring the former principal at the Adass Israel School in Melbourne to be mentally unfit for extradition.
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