The Jerusalem District Court has heard the defence and prosecution in the extradition trial for accused child sex offender Malka Leifer, with the final decision to be delivered in September.
It has been nine years since police statements against Leifer were first made in Australia, totalling 74 charges of child abuse, including multiple rape charges.
The statements were provided by three Melbourne sisters – Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper – who attended the Ultra-Orthodox Adass Israel School where Leifer was principal.
Leifer’s defence team on Monday were granted the opportunity to deliver their arguments first, initially claiming she wouldn’t receive a fair trial in Australia if she was to be extradited because the media has portrayed her as a “monster”.
Her lawyers went on to detail that one of the complainants had said “No” in one of the incidents of alleged abuse, arguing that that was therefore evidence they knew what sex was, creating a contradictory argument.
The defence continually claimed the sisters, who have been fighting to have Leifer extradited for years, were not taken advantage of.
Further to the arguments surrounding consent and knowledge of the act, Leifer’s lawyers convinced the court to read all of the issues she would face in an Australian jail, considering she is Ultra-Orthodox Jewish.
The prosecution rebutted by saying the case was a straightforward matter.
Leifer, who is wanted in Australia for 74 charges of child abuse and rape, fled the country after allegations arose almost ten years ago while she was principal at Melbourne’s Adass Israel School.
The school paid for her flights to Israel where she was arrested in 2014.
The prosecution outlined Leifer has permanent residency in Australia and has given birth to two children in the country, so if it wasn’t for the accusations, she would still be in Melbourne.
While the defence attempted to argue the alleged victims understood what sex is, therefore there were no illegal actions, the prosecution lawyers read the same third-party evidence – though continued past where the defence stopped reading in their argument.
Monday was the first time the three sisters’ statements had been heard in an Israeli court.
They were unable to be present in court due to coronavirus travel restrictions.
A decision on the extradition case will be heard on September 21 after the coming Jewish religious holidays.