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Jerusalem - Jerusalem Court Says ‘No’ To Bail For Former Australian School Principal

Published on: June 14, 2018 08:58 AM
By: Andrew Friedman/TPS
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Malka Leifer, a former school principal who is wanted on 74 charges of abuse in Melbourne, Australia, is led out of the Jerusalem District Court. Jun 14, 2018. Photo by: Hillel Maeir/TPSMalka Leifer, a former school principal who is wanted on 74 charges of abuse in Melbourne, Australia, is led out of the Jerusalem District Court. Jun 14, 2018. Photo by: Hillel Maeir/TPS

Jerusalem - The Jerusalem District Court rejected a request by defense attorneys Thursday to release Malka Leifer, the former principal of an ultra-Orthodox high school for girls in Melbourne, Australia on bail.

Judge Avigdor Dorot, an on-duty judge filling in to hear the request in place of Judge Hannah Lomp, the presiding judge in the case who is on vacation until the beginning of July, dismissed the case until June 20, next Wednesday and ruled that Leifer would remain at the Neve Tirza women’s prison pending a formal hearing on the request for bail.

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On May 31, Judge Lomp ordered Leifer to undergo a psychiatric evaluation by the Jerusalem district psychiatrist and said she would remain in custody during that process, to be completed by the first week of July. Subsequently, however, defense attorneys and family members claimed that Leifer’s medical condition had worsened in recent weeks and that she was in urgent need of psychiatric care outside of prison.

The tension of that request was clear on the faces of Leifer’s defense team, but prosecutors, who pleaded with Dorot to hear their appeal as soon as possible, even asking for an after-hours session. At the hastily arranged hearing attended by officials from the Australian embassy, Leifer’s brother, victims’ support groups and Australian-Israelis who said they were attending the session “to show support for the victims,” the defendant was led into court in shackles and handcuffs, placed her head on the defendant’s box and played no role in the proceedings.

Leifer is wanted in Australia on 74 counts of sexual abuse dating to her time as headmistress of the ultra-Orthodox Adass Israel school from 2001-2008. She fled the country, allegedly with the assistance of members of the insular community, as news surfaced that Melbourne police had asked the court for an arrest warrant, and moved to the haredi town of Emmanuel, in Samaria. Since Australia filed an request for extradition in 2014, defense attorneys have argued consistently that she is not mentally stable enough to stand trial. In June, 2016 a court-appointed psychiatrist accepted the claim, Leifer was released from custody and extradition proceedings were halted.

Those proceedings were renewed in February, 2018, when an undercover investigation revealed that Leifer was apparently leading a functional, normative life. She was re-arrested, charged with obstruction of justice, and extradition proceedings began anew.

Following the hearing, defense attorney Yehuda Fried accused the prosecution of withholding evidence, and stressed that even the evidence he has seen does not indicate that Leifer was faking her illness to avoid extradition.

“The ‘evidence’, such as it is, is a farce,” Fried told Tazpit Press Service after the hearing. “On the most basic level – the prosecution has mis-identified people in the video’s and phone recordings they’ve submitted. They aren’t giving us the evidence because they know there is simply nothing there.

Prosecutor Matan Akiva responded, saying that the material was complicated enough that it could not be provided to defense lawyers without first being reviewed.

Dorot also rejected a defense request to allow Leifer not to attend the hearing because she was in the midst of a psychotic episode and had spent the morning lying on the cement floor of her holding cell in the basement of the court building.



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Read Comments (7)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jun 14, 2018 at 10:22 AM Anonymous Says:

האמת יורה דרכו.

All the defenses that are founded on falsehood will eventually fail. If this woman is truly so psychotic that she is lying on the floor of her cell, she suffers from that serious of an illness that should remain in long term treatment where she is confined. I will let forensic experts determine whether that means an inpatient facility, or regular psychiatric care while being detained. But release is clearly a foolish consideration.

2

 Jun 14, 2018 at 10:37 AM shimonyehuda Says:

hope bail is denied and she gets sent back to Australia for justice.

3

 Jun 14, 2018 at 02:34 PM Anonymous Says:

She belongs in jail for the rest of her life, she's a predator.

4

 Jun 14, 2018 at 02:49 PM mayereke Says:

what a mess !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

5

 Jun 14, 2018 at 03:10 PM barbaabba Says:

Female prison can be heaven for this woman
she needs to be incarcerated in all male prison

6

 Jun 15, 2018 at 03:17 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

She belongs in jail for the rest of her life, she's a predator.

Have you held the court proceedings and has she been found guilty, something no one else has heard about yet? You’d be singing a different tune if she was a relative of yours.

7

 Yesterday at 05:16 AM p_almonius Says:

Reply to #6  
Anonymous Says:

Have you held the court proceedings and has she been found guilty, something no one else has heard about yet? You’d be singing a different tune if she was a relative of yours.

If what you're saying is that her family is helping her fraudulently avoid extraditiont they should be investigated too.

8

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