Malka Leifer appears in Australia Court on Child Abuse Charges

Sep13,2021 #Australia #Child Privacy
Adoption Child Porn law insider

Shivangi Prakash-

Published on: September 13, 2021 at 16:11 IST

Accused child abuser Malka Leifer’s claimed victims have begun to testify against her during her committal hearing in a Melbourne Court.

Between 2004 and 2008, Leifer, a 55-year-old former principal of a Melbourne ultra-Orthodox Jewish girl’s school, is accused of committing 74 offences against three sisters.

For the first day of her committal hearing, she appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court via video link from custody on Monday. The hearing will evaluate whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant a Higher Court trial.

For the majority of the day, the Court was closed as the first of her three alleged victims testified. Dassi Erlich, Elly Saper, and Nicole Meyer, the accused victims, have given their consent to be identified, but the Court will remain closed during their testimony.

Leifer only spoke briefly before the Court closed to confirm that she could hear the proceedings and sat with her head bowed, only her white head covering and blue sweater showing on Screen as a sign of modesty.

During her time as principal of the Adass Israel ultra-Orthodox Jewish girls school in the Melbourne district of Elsternwick, Leifer is accused of many instances of rape, indecent assault, and other serious sexual offences.

The alleged crimes took place at a school in the same neighbourhood as the school and in three different regional locations. After charges of sexual abuse appeared, Leifer relocated to Israel in 2008 and was charged with criminal offences in 2012, but it took a long time for her to be extradited, and she only returned to Melbourne earlier this year.

Dr Vicki Gordon, a clinical psychologist who has described herself as a “whistleblower” in regard to the sexual assault allegations.

Esther Spiegelmen and Sharon Bromberg, who were faculty members at the school at the time of the abuse allegations, and Chana Rabinowitz, a former counsellor at the school, who will give evidence from Israel, are the other witnesses scheduled to testify during her committal.

Leifer’s lawyer, Ian Hill QC, was granted permission for her to miss the hearing on Thursday, which is Yom Kippur, the Jewish holy day. Other Jewish witnesses will be exempted from testifying as well.

The Court also heard that Leifer’s accusers would refuse to testify unless they could see her. In Victorian Court hearings, alleged victims of sexual abuse can ask not to see the accused during their testimony.

It’s believed that the commitment will take a week.

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