Malka Leifer’s lawyers say they may probe home life of accusers in child sex offences court case

A court sketch of a woman in a white headscarf, wearing a mask and a black and white jacket.

Lawyers for Malka Leifer, the former ultra-Orthodox headmistress charged with dozens of child sexual offenses, have stated that the “domestic life” of their alleged victims may be investigated as they try to scrutinize the evidence against them.

Important points:

  • The administrative hearing was told that 10 witnesses would be called to examine the evidence against Ms. Leifer
  • Her attorney told the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court that any cross-examination would be carried out with “as much care as possible”.
  • The former headmistress of the Adass Israel School maintains her innocence

Ms. Leifer stood before Melbourne Magistrates’ Court today and faced 74 child sexual abuse charges, including multiple rape, indecent assault and sexual penetration of a child.

The allegations were made against the 54-year-old by three sisters – Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper – who attended the Adass Israel School in Elsternwick while Ms. Leifer was the headmistress.

Mrs. Leifer maintained her innocence for a long time.

Melbourne Magistrates’ Court heard today that 10 witnesses would be called to examine the evidence against Ms. Leifer.

The prosecutors of Malka Leifer, Nicole Meyer, Elly Sapper and Dassi Erlich.

ABC News: Mark Farnell, file photo


The administrative hearing was only Ms. Leifer’s second appearance since she was extradited from Israel earlier this year.

She appeared by video link from the Dame Phyllis Frost Center, Victoria’s maximum security women’s prison, wearing a blue sweater, white shirt, and white headgear.

Lines of support for sexual assault and domestic violence:

Ms. Leifer was assisted by her brother, who followed the negotiations from Israel, which was early in the morning.

She spoke sparingly and only admitted that she could hear the proceedings.

Her attorney, Tony Hargreaves, told the court that any cross-examination is carried out with “as much care as possible”.

“The relationship the three applicants had with their parents, especially their mother, clearly appears to be the genesis of the relationship between the defendant and the applicants,” Hargreaves told the court.

“We might want to ask the witnesses what happened to the applicants at home,” he said.

“… It will be limited and the lawyer may not go that route.”

Ms. Leifer will hold a five-day hearing in September.