Malka Leifer committal hearing begins, with first witness called

Malka Leifer will go before a jury in a trial expected to begin in August.

Malka Leifer will go before a jury in a trial expected to begin in August. Photo: AAP

Three women who say they were abused by former ultra-Orthodox school principal Malka Leifer will get their chance to give evidence against her this week.

A hearing is underway in Melbourne Magistrates Court for Ms Leifer who is facing 74 charges including rape and indecent assault allegedly committed while she was head of Melbourne’s Adass Israel School between 2004 and 2008.

Sisters Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper are among 10 people expected to give evidence during the committal hearing, which is expected to run until next Monday.

Sisters Elly Sapir, Dassi Erlich and Nicole Meyer, who are alleged victims of Malka Leifer, in Melbourne in May. Photo: AAP

Last year they were granted a court order allowing them to speak publicly and under their real names.

The first of the women has been called to give evidence, which is happening in a closed court with only legal teams, a magistrate, and Ms Leifer present.

The siblings had asked to give evidence in person but current coronavirus restrictions has meant the entire hearing must be conducted online.

Ms Leifer is also appearing by video link, from Melbourne’s women’s prison, the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre.

She returned to Australia in January after a year-long extradition process.

The committal hearing will determine if there is enough evidence for Ms Leifer to stand trial on 47 indecent assault charges, 13 counts of committing an indecent act with a child, 11 of rape and three of sexually penetrating a child.

On Monday the court heard no Jewish witnesses would give evidence in the hearing on Thursday, which is Yom Kippur, a high holy day.

Permission was also granted for Ms Leifer to not appear in court that day, but for proceedings to continue in her absence.


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