Malka Leifer's defence appeals ruling she is fit for extradition to Australia to face child abuse charges

Accused child abuser Malka Leifer has appealed an Israeli court ruling that she is mentally fit to face an extradition trial, which is likely to further delay her extradition to Australia.

In this Feb. 27, 2018 file photo, Australian Malka Leifer, center, is brought to a courtroom in Jerusalem

In this Feb. 27, 2018 file photo, Australian Malka Leifer, center, is brought to a courtroom in Jerusalem Source: AAP

The lawyers for alleged child sex offender Malka Leifer have filed an appeal to the Jerusalem High Court to halt an extradition case against her.

Following a long awaited decision in the District Court in May, which unquestionably deemed her fit to face extradition trial, it was expected Ms Leifer's legal team would try to reverse this decision.

Ms Leifer has been wanted in Australia for 74 rape and child abuse charges stemming from her time as principal of Melbourne's Melbourne's Ultra-Orthodox Adass Israel School.

The first allegations surfaced as far back as 2008.

There were still many unknowns as to how this new development will play out, considering an appeal date still has not been set.

With a court hearing already set in the Jerusalem District Court for 20 July, signalling the start of the extradition trial, Ms Leifer's team will now be able to appeal both the decision of her mental fitness as well as the overall
extradition.

The Jerusalem Post reported the defence has claimed they are bringing new evidence to the table, stemming from a prison official who has dealt with Ms Leifer and believes she has mental health issues.

Manny Waks, who has been heavily involved in the hearings in Jerusalem and advocating for justice for three Melbourne sisters who were allegedly abused by Ms Leifer, told AAP it is a "long shot" for them to win the appeal.

"Malka Leifer's defence team had promised in the very beginning to do everything they can to ensure this case is prolonged," Mr Waks told AAP by phone.

"Of course they are entitled to an appeal process," he said. 

"I expect the appeal will be outrightly and promptly rejected," Mr Waks said. 

Readers seeking support with mental health can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636. More information is available at Beyond Blue.org.auEmbrace Multicultural Mental Health supports people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

If you or someone you know is impacted by family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000. People aged between five and 25 seeking support with mental health can contact Kids Helpline at kidshelpline.com.au or on 1800 55 1800.


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Published 9 July 2020 at 7:20am, updated 9 July 2020 at 7:22am