2 July 2018Hot off the Press
Malka Leifer, an alleged child molester wanted in Australia, has been denied bail in a decision handed down by the Jerusalem District Court on Sunday (local time).
Ms Leifer, who is a former principal at an ultra-Orthodox girls school in Melbourne, fled to Israel after she was accused of molesting dozens of school children.
The former principal is wanted on 74 charges of child abuse in Australia and is expected to face an extradition hearing on July 15.
She was arrested in February following an undercover operation conducted by police to investigate her claim that she is mentally unfit to appear in court.
The investigation, which installed hidden cameras, showed Ms Leifer going about her daily chores without any evidence of her suffering a mental illness.
The footage led investigators to the conclusion that she had been faking it in order to avoid extradition.
Ms Liefer’s defence team said they will appeal Sunday’s decision, in which the judge ordered that the 54 year-old remain behind bars until a decision is reached regarding the extradition petition against her.
Judge Avigdor Dorot wrote on Sunday during the ruling, that he was not convinced by the defence’s claims that the evidence gathered against Ms Liefer was partial and prejudiced.
Judge Dorot also agreed with the conclusion given by the court’s psychiatrist in February that Ms Leifer “does not suffer from mental illness in the legal sense, understands the significance of the legal proceeding and is fit to stand trial.”
One alleged victim of the abuse inflicted by Ms Leifer, Dassi Elrich, took a sigh of relief over the ruling, writing via Facebook, “We are so grateful she is in custody and unable to continue harming the vulnerable.”
Ms Leifer, who is an Israeli citizen, fled to Israel in 2008 just days before allegations over child abuse surfaced after she received a heads up from Adass Israeli officials.
Authorities in Melbourne filed charges against her, following with an extradition request in 2014.
Ms Leifer was then arrested in Israel but was soon released to house arrest shortly after.
The Sydney Morning Herald published a story on Sunday reporting that Ms Leifer continued to sexually abuse children while in Israel.