Suspected sex-offender to remain in custody pending final ruling

Judge to consider appeal against decision to release Leifer to house arrest.

March 8, 2018 19:43
1 minute read.
Suspected sex-offender to remain in custody pending final ruling

Malka Leifer, a former Australian school principal who is wanted in Australia on suspicion of sexually abusing students, walks in the corridor of the Jerusalem District Court accompanied by Israeli Prison Service guards, in Jerusalem February 14, 2018. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun. (photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

The Supreme Court decided Thursday to keep Australian suspected child sex-offender Malka Leifer in custody after hearing an appeal against the Jerusalem District Court’s ruling the previous day to release her to house arrest.

The Supreme Court judge ruled that Leifer must remain in custody in the medical facility until he has reviewed the appeal and makes his final ruling, which is expected next week.

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Leifer is accused of 74 charges of sexual abuse against at least eight pupils, who were minors at the time, at the Adass Israel School in Melbourne where she served as a teacher and principal from 2003 to 2008.

Police arrested Leifer last month in the West Bank settlement of Emmanuel where she lives, after an undercover investigation indicated that she had been feigning mental illness to avoid extradition to Australia.

“We’re pleased the appeal was successful and the latest travesty of justice has been averted, at least temporarily,” said Manny Waks, an Australian-Israeli activist working to prevent childhood sexual abuse in Jewish communities worldwide.

On Wednesday, the Jerusalem District Court judge decided that Leifer may be released Friday morning to house arrest, after Migdal Ha’emek Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Dovid Grossman testified on her behalf.

“As we’ve repeatedly stated, Leifer belongs in a courtroom or at a medical facility where she can recuperate and ultimately face justice.

There is simply no alternative – not for her alleged victims and not for the safety and well-being of Israeli children today,” Waks said.

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