A former Melbourne principal accused of 74 child sex abuse charges has been set free by a court in Israel on grounds of having an unstable mental condition.
Principal Malka Leifer is on the most-wanted list of Victorian police. She was accused of indecent behavior and rape allegations involving female students at the Adass Israel School in Melbourne. The accused left Australia and fled to Israel in 2008 as soon as the first allegation was raised against her, according to the ABC.
The Israeli court ruled that the ex-principal was mentally unfit to face further legal proceedings to be held in Australia. For almost two years, she avoided 10 extradition proceedings for she claimed to have been suffering from panic attacks and illness. However, on Thursday, a psychiatric report has been released that confirmed that the ex-principal of the Melbourne school was indeed mentally ill. The Daily Mail reported that a Jerusalem judge said that as she was unfit to attend further proceedings, her house arrest will be suspended.
The court’s ruling came as a shock for Australian legal authorities and also for those who sought justice for the reported child sex abuse victims. Australian-Israeli victim advocate Manny Waks expressed his disappointment on such a verdict. “Some of Leifer’s alleged victims feel devastated and completely let down by Israel’s legal system,” he said.
The Australian Embassy in Tel Aviv said that it was going through the judgment properly to assess it in a better way. Ambassador Dave Sharma said that the embassy is likely to discuss the matter with the State Attorney Office of Israel. “We are committed to seeing this woman extradited to Australia to face these very serious child sex abuse charges,” he said. “We are determined to be patient and persevere to this end with the view to seeing her extradited.”
The former Melbourne principal was put under house arrest in 2014, six years later after the first allegation. Her arrest came following a request from Australia to Israel.