Malka Leifer
Malka Leifer

'Sex pest' teacher is feigning mental illness: panel

The panel of psychiatrists set up to review former Melbourne school principal Malka Leifer's fitness to face an extradition trial in Israel has concluded she feigned mental illness.

Submitting their findings to the Jerusalem District Court, the panel of three psychiatric experts stated Leifer is fit to stand trial.

The former school principal is wanted in Victoria on 74 charges of rape and child sexual assault, allegedly committed during her time at the ultra-orthodox Adass Israel school more than a decade ago.

One of three sisters who have accused Leifer of abuse welcomed the panel's decision in an online post.

"We cannot believe this day has come!!! Incredible news!! We knew this all along! Such a long wait, justice has come!!" Dassi Erlich said on Twitter late on Thursday AEST.

Leifer returned to Israel after allegations against her surfaced in 2008.

Legal proceedings have been running since 2011 as defence lawyers repeatedly argued she was too unwell to attend court, leading to numerous psychiatric assessments.

She was ruled unfit to stand trial in 2016 but an undercover investigation in Israel by the organisation Jewish Community Watch found Leifer was apparently going about her daily life unhindered.

She was arrested again in 2018 on charges of fraud and feigning mental illness.

Leifer's lawyers Tal Gabbay and Yehuda Fried said they were confident the Jerusalem court would reject the panel's findings.

"It is important to emphasise and remind that two previous opinions ruling that Leifer is feigning (mental illness) and is fit to stand trial were wholly rejected by the court after a discussion of the evidence," they told reporters.

"We expect that will be the case for this opinion as well."

The psychiatric report is to be presented to the Jerusalem District Court on January 14.


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