Accused Melbourne fugitive sex teacher loses appeal

Fugitive Melbourne teacher has lost an appeal in an Israeli court, opening the way for her extradition decision on September 21.

Israel's Supreme Court knocked back her bid to claim that she was mentally unfit to be subjected to an extradition trial.

Leifer is wanted in Australia on 74 child sexual abuse charges related to her time at Melbourne's ultra orthodox Adass Israel School in Elsternwick.

It is now expected that she could be back in Australia within months, rather than years, if the court decided that she should be extradited.

It was expected that the 52-year-old would appeal any decision this month, but judges on Wednesday night expressed frustration at the delays in her case.

Manny Waks, of Jewish child abuse survivors charity Kol v'Oz, said the decision was an important step forward.

 

Manny Waks, CEO of Kol vÕOz, an Israel-based organisation combating child sexual abuse in the global Jewish community. Picture: Ella Pellegrini
Manny Waks, CEO of Kol vÕOz, an Israel-based organisation combating child sexual abuse in the global Jewish community. Picture: Ella Pellegrini

"This decision was completely expected, as it's been clear to practically everyone following this case - including countless experts - that Leifer has taken the Israeli judicial system for a major ride," he said.

"ln their ruling, even the judges said that proceedings had dragged out 'much beyond what is reasonable."

An expert medical panel had previously rejected claims that Leifer was unfit to stand trial.

Mr Waks said he expected the saga, which began in 2008, would end soon.

"With Leifer's legal avenues running out, we hope and expect that we now see her swiftly sent back to Australia where she will face her accusers," he said.

"Once that has occurred, a full review needs to take place in Israel to find out why this particular case has dragged out so long and whether allegations of political interference are substantiated.

"Again, we commend and continue to fully support Leifer's courageous victims, Nicole, Dassi and Elly."

 

Dassi Erlich. Picture: AAP
Dassi Erlich. Picture: AAP

Dassi Erlich, one of Leifer's alleged victims, tweeted: "The decision we've been waiting nine years to hear since we gave our police statements in 2011."

Leifer's lawyer claimed at an earlier hearing that she would not receive a fair trial in Australia.

They said in January outside court that it was "not over until it's over" and it was expected they would continue to appeal.

stephen.drill@news.co.uk

Originally published as Accused Melbourne sex teacher loses appeal


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