News National Malka Leifer faces Melbourne court on 74 charges
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Malka Leifer faces Melbourne court on 74 charges

Malka Leifer left Melbourne when the allegations against her surfaced in 2008. Phoot: ABC
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Malka Leifer has for the first time faced an Australian court charged with sexually abusing three sisters while principal of a Melbourne ultra-Orthodox Jewish school.

Ms Leifer faces 74 charges and arrived back in the country on Wednesday night after being extradited from Israel following 13 years abroad.

She is alleged to have abused Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper in the 2000s while principal of the Adass Israel School at Elsternwick.

Ms Leifer appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday via video link from North Melbourne Police Station.

She did not respond when asked if she could see and hear the court, and sat with her head in her hands.

Her lawyer, Tony Hargreaves, said Ms Leifer had serious mental health issues for which she required various types of medication.

Mr Hargreaves asked for Leifer to be transferred to a prison as quickly as possible for the sake of her mental health, because the police station did not have the required facilities.

She also had strict religious beliefs that required special arrangements in custody, the lawyer said.

Ms Leifer will undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine in custody.

She did not apply for bail and is due to face court again, also via video link, on April 9.

Her accusers were last year granted a court order allowing them to speak publicly and under their real names about the case.

-AAP