THE emotional rollercoaster for alleged victims of Malka Leifer continued last week when the former Adass Israel principal earned another stay in court.
Leifer, facing 74 charges in relation to child sexual abuse in Australia, has evaded justice by allegedly faking illness to avoid extradition proceedings in Israel for several years.
At the latest hearing, she was transferred from prison to the court house but her lawyer successfully argued that she shouldn’t have to publicly appear in court.
Dassi Erlich, who was allegedly abused by Leifer, said the endless court hearings with no apparent progress are an emotional rollercoaster.
“Every single time there is a court hearing, my sisters come over and we see or hear what is happening from whoever can update us in Israel,” Erlich told The AJN.
“As we closely follow proceedings our emotions rise, but ultimately always fall because every time it is just another delay and it’s incredibly frustrating.”
Erlich said she understood it could take a year or more to extradite Leifer, but at the moment it feels like the case is not progressing at all.
The current hearings into the claims that Leifer is faking mental illness are experiencing delays as Israeli police have not finished their investigation into that allegation and, as a result, have not handed evidence to Leifer’s lawyer.
“We just want her extradition trial to begin,” Erlich said.
“Her lawyers have said they are going to drag this out as long as possible, and so far it seems they are succeeding.”
The application to extradite Leifer was filed in 2014. In 2016, proceedings were stopped after a psychiatrist determined that Leifer was not fit to stand trial.
Child sexual abuse victims’ advocate Manny Waks said the continuing delays are incredibly frustrating.
“It is disappointing, especially for her alleged victims who are sitting with bated breath in Australia, waiting for news,” Waks said.
“Yet again we are seeing these stalling tactics.”
As part of this week’s hearing, the judge also ordered Leifer to have another psychiatric assessment.
“There is a concern that if a certain psychiatrist is involved, that they will determine she isn’t fit for trial and that could derail the extradition process,” Waks said.
The next court date has been set for Thursday, May 31.