Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied- The Case of Malka Leifer

To our shame, Israel is a molester haven. A prime example is Malka Leifer who fled Australia in 2008 on one day’s notice when she knew that the police were closing in on her. It is eleven years later, over 50 court hearings later, and yet the extradition process drags on.

Dassi Erlich is one of the survivors of Leifer’s sexual abuse of the girls in the Adaas school in Melbourne where Leifer was the principal. She persists in her struggle to bring Leifer to justice back in Australia. Dassi just posted an updated timeline of her long, frustrating search for justice on FaceBook of the 11 years since Leifer fled Australia and the 56 court hearings in Israel with resolution closer but definitely not there yet. 

Thanks to the brave persistence of Dassi, her sisters, and their many supporters, Leifer will probably be delivered up for justice to Australian authorities. But no child molesting criminal should be able to evade justice so long.

Below, in all its excruciating and absurd detail, is the full timeline of the corrupt Israeli handling of the case.

 

TIMELINE of JUSTICE DELAYED

  • 2000 – Malka Leifer arrives in Australia.
  • 2008 – Leifer leaves Australia after allegations of sexual abuse with her students. Tickets are paid by Adass School board members.
  • 2011 – 3 Police statements are given to police totalling 74 charges of child sexual abuse including rape.
  • 2014
  • Aug 14 – Leifer arrested.

  • Aug 24 – Court Hearing #1 and #2
  • Reports from Israel that 2 court hearings been heard regarding the case. Court decides that Leifer will remain detained until a decision regarding her custody is reached.
  • Sept 10 – Court hearing #3
  • Leifer’s legal team suspect that this case will be of interest and request a media gag. Court places a media gag on the case.
  • Sept – Court hearing #4
  • State appeals media gag decision. Court rules in favour of appeal. Leifer lawyers request an appeal on the appeal, citing special circumstances. Case on Media Gag moves to Supreme Court.
  • Sept 15 – Court hearing #5
  • Supreme Court lifts the media gag and rules to keep Leifer in custody until the end of the legal process against her. The case can now be publicized.
  • Oct 7 – Court hearing #6
  • Judge Vinograd rules that Leifer is to be released from custody and placed under house arrest. She is forbidden from leaving her house without receiving the state attorney’s prior consent.
  • Nov 6 – Court hearing #7
  • Leifer does not attend court. Leifer’s legal team request court hearing to be delayed until November 10th. State objects.
  • Nov 12 – Court Hearing #8
  • Leifer does not attend court. Leifer’s legal team ask that court be delayed again. State objects. Court rescheduled for the 29th December.
  • Dec 29 – Court Hearing #9
  • Leifer does not attend court. Leifer’s legal team explain her absence due to medical issues. Court hearing rescheduled again for January 21st.
  • 2015;
  • Jan 21 – Court hearing #10
  • Leifer does not attend court. Leifer’s legal team explain her absence due to medical issues. Court hearing rescheduled again.
  • Feb 9 – Court hearing #11
  • Leifer does not attend court. Leifer’s legal team explain her absence due to medical issues. Court hearing rescheduled again.
  • Mar 23 – Court hearing #12
  • Scheduled court hearing does not go ahead due to requested medical reports not reaching court in time. Leifer did not attend a meeting with the court ordered medical professional and the meeting was not rescheduled. Court scheduled for May 11th.
  • May 11 – Court Hearing #13
  • State receives a request from Leifer’s attorneys asking to postpone the hearing again. State files a response opposing any kind of postponement.
  • June 11th – Court Hearing #14
  • Brief court hearing due to medical issues, details unable to be shared due to confidentiality reasons.
  • August – Dassi, Elly and Nicole meet with the DA and Lawyer Avital while in Israel. State assures them that they will not give up and suggested possibly arranging a court date at the hospital if Leifer cannot make it to the courtroom. (This never happened)
  • October 28th – Court Hearing #15
  • Leifer does not attend court. Leifer’s lawyers request a further delay to allow the regional psychiatrist to review reports on whether Leifer can attend court or not.
  • 2016;
  • Jan 4 – Court hearing #16
  • Leifer does not attend court. Leifer’s legal team explain her absence due to medical issues.
  • Reports from Israel say Leifer checked herself into the emergency department with a recommendation letter from her physician dated dec 30th , although she only checked into the hospital on January 3rd . Leifer checks herself out immediately after the scheduled court hearing.
  • Feb 22 – Court hearing #17
  • Protesters call for Justice outside Court House. Judge accepts State’s request of observation of Malka Leifer in hospital (never happened). Judge rejects Leifers lawyers’ plea to drop the case.
  • April – Court Hearing #18
  • Scheduled court hearing postponed due to state prosecutors on strike. State attempts to get special permission for this case to be heard but is denied.
  • May 8 – Court hearing #19
  • Leifer does not attend court. Leifer’s legal team explain her absence due to medical issues. Final decision regarding status of case is to be made at the next hearing in June.
  • June 2 – Court Hearing #20
  • Judge rules to suspend case and Leifer is released from house arrest and allowed to live freely. Court orders Leifer to attend 5 psych sessions in 6 months and be reviewed by a Psychiatric panel every 6 months for up to 10 years.
  • June 7– Court Hearing #21
  • Court Hearing regarding Leifer’s bail money and passport. Money is returned, Passport is held.
  • 2017;
  • Jan – Panel Hearing #22
  • 6 monthly psychiatric review – psychiatric panel say Leifer is not fit to stand in court and is to be reviewed in another 6 months.
  • July 30 – Panel hearing #23
  • 2nd 6 month review – Leifer claims to be severely mentally unwell and her family state she requires a carer for daily living activities. Psychiatric panel say Leifer is not fit to stand in court and is to be reviewed in another 6 months.
  • Mar – Dassi shares her story publicly for the first time and founds the #bringleiferback campaign.
  • Oct – Dassi, Elly and Nicole travel to Israel to raise awareness about the #bringleiferback campaign.
  • Dec – An undercover operation is launched by Jewish Community Watch and followed up by police at the request of Interpol. Leifer is seen to be living a normal life despite her claims that she is severely unwell, unable to talk, comprehend or complete daily living tasks independently.
  • 2018;
  • Jan 23 – Panel Hearing #24
  • 3rd 6 monthly review – Leifer’s family requests Medical Power of Attorney claiming Leifer is severely unwell and incapable of making her own medical decisions. Leifer appears to be uncommunicative and have no comprehension of anything around her. Psychiatric panel say Leifer is not fit to stand in court and is to be reviewed in another 6 months.
  • Feb 12 – Leifer is arrested on domestic charges of fraud, obstruction of justice, and feigning mental illness.
  • Feb 13 – Court Hearing #25
  • Hearing in domestic court for domestic charges. Leifer’s lawyer uphold she is still mentally unwell. Judge Vinograd rules that Leifer is to be detained overnight under psychiatric care until extradition hearing the next day.
  • Court Hearing #26
  • Leifer’s legal team appeal the decision of holding Leifer in Psychiatric care until the next day. Appeal is denied.
  • Feb 14 – Court Hearing #27
  • Court hearing in extradition court – Judge rules that Leifer should be held in psychiatric facility where the district psychiatrist will reassess her. Court rescheduled Feb 21 for the assessment to be presented.
  • Feb 20 –Court Hearing #28
  • Expected court hearing is rescheduled due to psychiatrist requesting more time to assess Leifer.
  • Feb 27 – Court Hearing #28
  • Leifer’s lawyers request more information on domestic case during extradition hearing. Judge Lomp adjourns court again to give time for defence to receive info. New psychiatric assessment states Leifer is fit to stand trial. Psychiatric assessment has not been signed off by District Psychiatrist. Judge asks for the for assessment to be signed.
  • Court Hearing #29 – Judge Vinograd rules that Leifer is to remain in psychiatric hospital till March 7th.
  • March 7 – Court Hearing #30
  • Psychiatric assessment has still not been signed off by District Psychiatrist. Judge asks for the for assessment to be signed. Judge Vinograd rules that Leifer is to be released into the care of Rabbi Grossman while the extradition request proceeds.
  • March 8 – Court #31
  • State appeals Leifer’s release in Supreme court. Judge Karra decides Leifer will remain in psychiatric hospital until he delivers his judgement. New Psych report has been signed by District psychiatrist.
  • March 12 – After international pressure Rabbi Grossman withdraws his support from Leifer.
  • March 19 – Court Hearing #32
  • Appeal accepted in Supreme court. Judge Karra rules that Leifer is to be moved to jail and is to stay there until the end of extradition proceedings.
  • April – Court hearing #33
  • Leifer’s legal team petition the court for her release. Request is denied.
  • May 2 – Court Hearing #34
  • Leifer’s legal team request she be released from prison. Request is denied. Leifer’s legal team argue that they have not received all evidence regarding the domestic charges. Judge rules this is to be provided to them over the next fortnight.
  • May 16 – Court hearing #35
  • Malka Leifer does not attend Court claiming medical issues. Court proceeds without Leifer.
    Domestic investigation has not concluded so all evidence not given to defence.
    Leifer’s legal team repeat request for this information. Judge orders another psychiatric assessment.
  • May 31 – Court Hearing #36
  • Leifer’s legal team argue that all evidence has still not been handed to them, and further claims that the evidence was collected and distributed criminally. Leifer’s legal team request an investigation into this matter. Judge does not answer this request.
    Judge Lomp rules that the new psychiatrist is to receive all evidence and include this in the new assessment of Leifer.
  • June 14 – Court Hearing #37
  • Leifer’s legal team request her bail again. Prosecutor opens the session informing the judge about the supreme court decision to keep Leifer in jail until extradition.
    Leifer’s legal team once again dispute the undercover evidence.
    Judge Dorot states there is not enough time to go over all the evidence and schedules another court date for the 20th June.
  • June 20 – Court Hearing #38
  • Leifer’s legal team bring their own Private Investigator to pull apart every piece of the Private investigation against Malka Leifer.
  • Videos are played in court showing ML filling out cheques in a post office the same week her family requested a medical power of attorney. Judge Dorot schedules a court hearing for July 1st to hand down a decision.
  • July 1 – Court hearing #39
  • Judge Dorot denies bail for Leifer and rules she is to remain in the Neve Tirza Women’s prison.
  • Reports from Israel state that Malka Leifer allegedly abused again in 2014.
  • July 12
  • The scheduled extradition hearing before Judge Lomp for July 15 is postponed till mid August.
  • Aug 14 – Court Hearing #40
  • New psych assessment of Malka Leifer reports she is fit to stand for extradition trial.
    Judge Lomp schedules next court date for Nov 14th – Leifer’s legal team will have a chance to bring their own expert psychiatrists for cross examination. The judge will then make a final decision regarding whether this case will move to an extradition trial.
  • Nov 21 – Court Hearing #41
  • Despite not having any new evidence, Leifer’s lawyers appeal for bail in the Supreme Court. Judge Fogelman rejects this appeal.
  • Nov 18 – Dassi, Elly, and Nicole travel to Israel for the #bringleiferback campaign and to face Malka Leifer in an Israeli court for the first time since she fled to Israel in 2008.
  • Nov 25 – Court Hearing #42
  • Leifer’s legal team request a closed court ahead of the 27th of November hearing- Judge approves closed court. Leifer’s lawyer request that Leifer not be required to appear in court on the 27th of November – Judge denies request stating there would need to be proof that appearing in court could pose a severe risk to Leifer’s mental health, in order to approve the request.
  • Nov 26 – Leifer’s lawyer produce a certificate stating Leifer’s mental health would be severely at risk if she had to appear in court. Judge rules Leifer does not have to attend the court hearing on the 27th of November.
  • Nov 27 – Court hearing #43
  • Leifer’s legal team argues that Dassi, elly and Nicole should not be allowed into court due to it being a closed hearing – Judge allows the sisters to stay in court with a support person from the Rape Crisis Centre.
  • Psychiatrist Dr Barash is cross examined for a full day regarding his report that states Malka Leifer is fit to stand trial. The case is adjourned until the 17th of January when Psychiatrists for the state and defence will continue to be cross-examined.
  • 2019;
  • Jan 17 – Court Hearing #44
  • Dr Agav and Dr Vysbrod are both cross examined regarding their reports that state Leifer is fit to stand trial. District Psychiatrist Dr Charnes is expected to take the stand on the 24th of Jan.
  • Jan 24 – Court Hearing #45
  • District Psychiatrist Dr Charnes takes the stand. According to reports from Leifers lawyers the District Psychiatrist testifies that the previous reports that state Leifer is fit for trial, that he read and signed off on, were mistaken. He advises the court that the case should be deferred to another panel of expert witnesses to make a new decision on Liefer’s mental health. The case was adjourned to the 6th of March.
  • Feb 15 – The Leifer story dominates the media in Israel for 5 consecutive days with allegations that the corruption in the case has reached the highest levels of Israeli Government. Health Minister Litzman is questioned by police over pressuring Psychiatrists, including District Psychiatrist Charnes, to declare Leifer unfit for trial in order to prevent extradition. The Health Minister is expected to be questioned again.
  • Feb 18 – Court Hearing #46
  • Leifer’s lawyers request bail stating her mental health is deteriorating to the point of it being life threatening. Judge Vinograd states that the bail will not be approved without a new medical assessment. Prosecutor rejects this proposal and states that Leifer is too unwell to even go through the process of the assessment. Esteemed Rabbi, Rav Shafran appears in court to support bail, and two Principals of Satmar Girls Schools offer to supervise Leifer if she is given bail. Judge rules that Leifer is to remain in custody.
  • Feb 26 – Media reports that previous victims of Leifer have begun speaking up in Israel. These new allegations arise from the time Leifer was teaching in Bnei- Braq before she arrived in Australia.
  • March 6 – Nicole, Dassi and Elly arrive in Israel to campaign for Justice.
  • March 7 – Court Hearing #47
  • Dr Gregory Katz testifies in court on behalf of the defense claiming that Malka Leifer suffers from multiple mental health issues and is unfit to stand trial.
  • March 13 – Court Hearing #48
  • Dr Brian Trappler testifies in court on behalf of the defense that Leifer claiming that Leifer suffers from multiple mental health issues and is unfit to stand trial. Dr Trappler is questioned in court about posts he had written on his personal Facebook stating that ‘Leifer never committed the crimes’ and that she was being pursued by a ‘lynch mob’. In response to comments on his post asking how he knew she was innocent he wrote that those calling for her extradition did not look religious.
  • When asked in court about these comments Dr Trappler states the information he received was given to him by Leifer’s family. Trappler shares with the court that he thought Leifer was being used as a ‘scapegoat’ and only after hearing there were 74 complainants did he realize the severity of the crime. (There are 74 charges from 3 complainants..) Trappler turns to the judge and says, ‘ I hope the judge does not only rely on my opinion to make a final decision, this would be too much of a responsibility’.
  • Outside court dozens of people from Israel and Australia protest the lengthy delays in the case and the involvement of Litzman in allegedly preventing Justice.
  • 26 March – Court Hearing #49
  • Dr Tiano testifies in court on behalf of the defense claiming Leifer suffers from a multitude of mental health issues and is not fit to stand trial. The next court hearing is scheduled for the 15th April where another Psychiatrist for the defense will be cross examined.
  • 15 April – Court hearing #50
  • Another psychiatrist for the defense testifies that Malka Leifer is too unwell to face an extradition hearing.
  • 12 May – Court hearing #51
  • Court is adjourned to the 15th May. The 2 witnesses who appear for the prosecution are not cross examined but their written testimonies are handed to Judge Lomp.
  • A discussion is had on whether the evidence about the 2018 undercover investigation will be led in written form, or whether witnesses will have to give evidence. The defence agrees for the prosecution to submit that evidence in written form, as long as the prosecution also submit evidence about the police investigation that might not otherwise have been submitted. It is expected witnesses for the defense will be cross examined on the 15th May.
  • 15 May – Court hearing #52
  • Judge Lomp rules that the only relevant witnesses in the extradition case are the psychiatrists.
  • Judge Lomp rules that if the prosecution decide not to cross examine the witnesses for the defense but allow their written testimonies to be submitted it does not mean that the prosecution agrees to this content. The prosecution have 1 day to make this decision.
  • 17 May
  • The prosecution decides there is no need to cross examine the defenses witnesses. Once the court rules on this decision (in a few days), the prosecution will have 30 days to submit their closing arguments! The defence will then have 30 days to respond and write their closing arguments!
  • The judge is then expected to make a final ruling on Leifer’s mental fitness to stand trial.
  • 20 May
  • Judge accepts the prosecution’s decision to not cross examine witnesses for the defense and sets a date to rule on Malka Leifer’s fitness to stand trial – 23rd September.
  • 24 June – Court Process #53
  • Malka Leifer is assessed by a new medical panel of 3 psychiatrists, appointed by the Tel Aviv district psychiatrist.
  • The media reports that the panel has already reached a conclusion indicating that they would rule Leifer was faking her mental illness. However, the panel request additional documents in order to reach a conclusive ruling on Leifer’s mental health. On July 11th, the panel will receive the additional documents and hear arguments from the prosecution and defense.
  • In 2016, Judge Cohen suspended the case and released Leifer on home arrest. He ruled that Leifer would be assessed every 6 months by a medical panel to determine whether she was well enough for extradition proceedings to continue. Although Leifer is now in prison the ruling Judge Lomp ordered that these panels continue. The panel’s ruling will have major implications on the case moving forward.
  • 11 July – Court Process #54
  • Leifer’s lawyer calls in sick, panel review adjourned to the 18th July.
  • 18 July – Court process #55
  • Leifer’s lawyer claims he is abroad, Panel is adjourned to the 25th July.
  • 25 July – Court process #56
  • Each week different psychiatrists make up the panel.
  • Leifer’s lawyer files a complaint against one of the panel members from the 24th June. The panel member is present at this panel hearing and chooses to recuse himself. Without 3 panel members the panel can not go ahead and is adjourned again. No date for the next panel process.

Till When?     עד מתי

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