Israeli court delays extradition hearing of Melbourne principal facing child sex charges

An Israeli court has ruled that all legal proceedings against a fugitive principal should be suspended until she receives psychiatric treatment, further delaying a decision on her extradition to Australia.

Malka Leifer faces prosecution in relation to 74 alleged sexual offences against girls she taught at Adass Israel School, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish school in the Melbourne suburb of Elsternwick.

Ms Leifer on Sunday failed to appear in the Jerusalem District Court for the eighth time in two years, but her legal team led by Yehuda Fried managed to avoid a court hearing on an extradition order to Victoria.

Ms Leifer’s lawyers have consistently argued she is unwell and unfit to appear in court. They argue she experiences panic attacks and bouts of depression as each court hearing approaches, resulting in each session proceeding without her participation.

Australian-Israeli victim advocate Manny Waks believed the case had dragged on unnecessarily long, and the alleged victims – girls aged 14 and 15 at the time – deserved some finality. Mr Waks exposed sexual abuse at Melbourne’s Yeshivah College, and also gave evidence to the child abuse royal commission.

Read full report by Kate Shuttleworth in the Sydney Morning Herald