Accused sex teacher can be extradited to Australia

 

Accused child abuse teacher Malka Leifer's extradition papers to Australia will be signed off by Israel's justice minister within days after she lost a Supreme Court appeal.

The former Adass Israel School principal must be sent back to Australia within 60 days once the paperwork was signed.

It was understood that Leifer could appeal against the warrant for her extradition, but that was likely to be rejected and would be heard via court paperwork rather than a hearing.

Coronavirus restrictions may add time to the extradition process, but it was possible she could be back in Melbourne as soon as January.

Israel's Supreme Court on Tuesday night rejected Leifer's appeal against her extradition to Australia to face 74 child sex abuse charges.

 

Dassi Erlich, Elly Sapper and Nicole Meyer accused Leifer of years of abuse when they were students at Adass Israel.

Ms Erlich told the Herald Sun on Tuesday night that she was "staggered" at the court decision nine years after she first filed a police complaint.

"We always hoped this day would come, we were close to giving up hope, but we never actually gave up," she said.

"It's quite staggering this is actually happening. It's a very long chapter in my life that I'm excited to close."

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said Leifer's impending extradition was a "step closer" to justice for the former teacher's alleged victims.

"Malka Leifer's appeal against extradition has been denied. And soon, we hope, she'll be returned to Victoria to face these allegations - as she should," Mr Andrews said on Tuesday night.

"The fight for justice has been long and painful. But it's now one step closer for these brave young women and their families."

Israel's Minister of Justice, Avi Nissenkorn, on Tuesday night gave hope of Leifer's prompt return to Australia.

"I welcome the Supreme Court ruling that allows the extradition of Malka Leifer to Australia," he said in a translated tweet.

"After long and torturous years, the time has come to do justice to Leifer's victims. I intend to sign the extradition order without delay."

Dassi Erlich is one of the former teacher’s alleged victims. Picture: Nicole Cleary
Dassi Erlich is one of the former teacher’s alleged victims. Picture: Nicole Cleary

Three judges rejected Leifer's appeal.

In the decision published on Tuesday night, Judge Isaac Amit said: "I am unable to accept the appellant's interpretation of the Extradition Convention … Article 3 (1) of the Convention, which sets out the list of offences, provides that a person can be extradited for an act that constitutes an offence included in one of the types of offences specified there.

"I accept the prosecutions position that the intention of the drafters of the Convention was to include all the behaviours defined in the two countries as "rape" as an extraditable offence."

Judge Anat Baron added that Leifer had used all possible legal avenues.

"Since the petition was filed, it appears that there is no procedure that the appellant did not take and that there is no claim that she missed in the attempt to prevent her extradition," she said.

Leifer, 52, fled to Israel in 2008 after her victims made allegations to Adass Israel, an ultraorthodox Jewish school in Elsternwick.

Two of Leifer's lawyers, Tal Gabay and Yahuda Fried, quit in November after defending her for six years.

Nick Kaufman, who defended the children of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi's in an international trial, had acted for her at a hearing this month.

He had indicated that he would claim there had been political interference in the case when asked if there were any further avenues of appeal after the hearing.

There was no immediate statement from Leifer's camp on Tuesday night.

Josh Burns, Federal Labor MP for Macnamara, said: "Even though it has taken, way, way too long, justice has prevailed."

stephen.drill@news.co.uk

Originally published as Accused sex teacher can be extradited to Australia



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