World

Psychs to be cross-examined in Leifer case

By AAP Newswire

The Jerusalem District Court has once again granted accused child sex offender Malka Leifer's lawyers time to cross-examine the latest psychiatric panel who deemed her mentally fit to face trial.

The court decision came as a major blow to the alleged victims, Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper, who had hoped and expected Tuesday would see the announcement of an extradition trial date.

The court process, now at hearing number 63, has faced numerous attempts by Leifer's attorneys to delay the possible extradition of Leifer to Australia to face 74 charges of rape and child abuse.

Last week, the most recent court-appointed psychiatric panel of three submitted their findings stating Leifer had been feigning mental illness.

Erlich released a statement after the closure of the court on Tuesday afternoon local time emphasing how exhausted her and her sisters were.

"Over an hour-long repetitive hearing of the defence screaming and attempting to delay the process again," Erlich wrote.

"The court proposes to cross-examine the panellists late February, but these dates will not be confirmed until the Judge speaks with the panellists."

The defence specifically asked the court on Tuesday to delay the hearings, arguing the renewal of extradition proceedings "must be based on unequivocal evidence."

Rebutting this, the prosecution reminded Leifer's lawyers that the expert panel, authorised by the Court, found that she is fit to stand trial.

Victim supporter Manny Waks who was present in court in Jerusalem, told AAP this outcome is "unacceptable."

"The focus needs to be on the well-being of the alleged victims, it's unacceptable that the entire focus here is on Malka Leifer and her alleged mental illness which has now been disproven.

"From our perspective, this delay is inhumane, every time there is a delay it exacerbates the pain and suffering of the alleged victims, and we need to look after their interests as well."

There is an echoing call from all supporters of the alleged victims that the Israeli court system is in shambles.

"To me it was symptomatic of how we've seen most of the court hearings handled in Israel, complete chaos, defence lawyers constantly interrupting, it seems a lot needs to be done to reform the system here," Waks added.

The Zionist Federation of Australia President Jeremy Leibler further expressed frustration to AAP that the panel won't be cross-examined for another month.

"While due process must be followed, we had hoped the Court was going to be expeditious due the definitive nature of the panel's findings," Leibler said.

The dates have not yet been set for the cross examination of the panel, though it is expected to be at the end of February or early March and may last for three days.