Hearing delayed

Malka Leifer.

ALLEGED child sexual abuser Malka Leifer will face an Israeli court next Tuesday night (Australian time) to determine if she is fit and proper to face extradition proceedings to Australia.

Leifer, who has been charged with 74 counts in relation to child sexual abuse during her time as principal of the Adass Israel School in Melbourne, was arrested in Israel earlier this month for allegedly faking a mental illness to avoid court hearings.

She is currently being held in a psychiatric facility while being assessed by a government psychiatrist.

She was due to face court again this week, but the psychiatrist asked for more time to assess her.

“We are really hoping that the request for an extended period of time to evaluate her is a positive step,” Dassi Erlich, an alleged victim of Leifer, told The AJN.

“Hopefully they come back with an evaluation that supports the evidence gathered against her that shows she is fit and proper to face extradition proceedings.”

Erlich said that even if it does not go ahead, Leifer should not just be allowed to live freely in Israel.

“If she is too unwell then she should be held in a psychiatric facility until she is well enough to face the proceedings.”

Since her arrest, Leifer has faced court on two occasions.

At the second hearing, last week after The AJN went to print, details emerged of how police were able to allege that she faked a mental illness.

It was revealed that a team of undercover private investigators were hired to follow Leifer and document her life.

Jewish Community Watch, an advocacy group for victims of child sexual abuse, hired the private investigators to follow Leifer over a 10-day period around Chanukah.

They collected more than 200 hours of surveillance footage, which showed her performing daily tasks.

That evidence was then handed over to Israel Police, who started their own investigation.

Leifer fled to Israel in 2008 when accusations that she had abused students at the school surfaced.

She was first arrested in Israel in 2014 and was released on bail.

A board of psychiatrists then determined that she was too mentally unstable to face extradition proceedings, but she was not hospitalised and her movements were unrestricted.

She remained free until earlier this month, when she was re-arrested.

JOSHUA LEVI