The nearly six-year-long case to extradite accused pedophile Malka Leifer to Australia has reached a “new low”, victim advocates say, after an Israeli court approved another delay in her extradition case.
Judge Chana Miriam Lomp has permitted the former Melbourne school principal’s defence team to cross-examine the panel of three court-appointed psychiatrists who in January deemed the disgraced Melbourne teacher as mentally fit to stand trial.
The panel was meant to be the final assessment of Ms Leifer’s mental fitness after more than 30 previous examinations, many of which found her mentally competent to face trial.
The new cross-examinations are scheduled for the end of February and will continue until March 12, angering Ms Leifer’s accusers who have long sought to see her stand trial in Australia.
After more than 60 hearings and no resolution in sight, a statement on behalf of her accusers said Nicole Meyer, Dassi Erlich and Elly Sapper have remained “patient” and “calm” but just about “have had enough”.
They questioned whether “anybody else can see the sense in this” decision to further prolong Ms Leifer’s extradition.
Ms Leifer is wanted in Victoria on 74 charges of rape and child sexual assault, allegedly committed during her time at the ultra-orthodox Adass Israel school more than a decade ago.
Victim advocate Manny Wak said: “This unprecedented decision continues to make a mockery of the Israeli legal system.”
“Why on earth does Judge Lomp need to hear from these psychiatrists again? Why is there a need to continue to delay this prolonged farcical case?
“After the police recommendation to indict Health Minister Yaakov Litzman for allegedly interfering in this sordid case, we can only hope that there is no external influence involved in this decision.
“But with what we have witnessed to date, absolutely anything is possible. However, this is a new low in this case.”
Extradition proceedings against Ms Leifer began in 2014 but were suspended two years later when her lawyers successfully argued she was too mentally ill to face trial.