The Jerusalem District Court on Wednesday ordered the release for house arrest of Australian former school principal Malka Leifer, who is wanted in Australia for pedophilia offenses.
The Prosecutor’s Office requested a delay in carrying out Leifer’s release, in order to consider filing an appeal.
The Adass Israel School sex abuse scandal at a religious school in Melbourne, Australia, resulted Victoria Police submitting 74 charges against former principal Leifer, concerning her conduct from 2003 to 2008, as at least eight victims had come forward.
Leifer, a dual Israeli-Australian citizen, fled under suspicious circumstances shortly before a warrant had been issued, and has remained in Israel since 2008, pending a decision on her extradition case. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, there have been new allegations of abuse against Leifer since she had settled in Judea and Samaria.
Last Monday, the court ordered that a panel of experts be set up to determine Leifer’s competency to stand trial.
More than a month ago, Leifer applied to the court to cancel a legal order for her medical treatment, which had been granted in 2016 following Leifer’s lawyers’ claims that she was mentally unfit to stand trial.
The Jewish Community Watch (JCW), which supports Lifer’s alleged victims, on Wednesday issued a harsh response to the court’s decision: “We were struck by the decision to send the sex offender to house arrest. This is a dangerous woman who is making fun of the court.”
In June, a court appointed psychiatric panel decided that Leifer was manipulative and did not appear to be mentally ill at all. The prosecution claimed in court that “Malka Leifer is trying to prevent the psychiatric committee from investigating the truth and making a decision” to extradite her.