August 24, 2023

Malka Leifer trial live updates: Former Elsternwick school principal to be sentenced over student abuse

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9.15am

A timeline of justice delayed

9.01am

Judgment day for Malka Leifer

By David Estcourt

Malka Leifer, the former principal of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish school in Melbourne, will be sentenced shortly for sexually abusing two former students.

The 15-year campaign for her Leifer to face justice will culminate in Victoria’s County Court as Judge Mark Gamble sentences her. The sentencing is expected to last three hours.

The 15-year campaign for her to face justice will culminate in Victoria’s County Court as Judge Mark Gamble hands down his sentence which is expected to three hours.

Sisters Elly Sapper (left), Nicole Meyer and Dassi Erlich outside the County Court.Credit: Justin McManus

After a six-week trial, a jury in April found Leifer, 56, guilty of assaulting and raping sisters Elly Sapper and Dassi Erlich between 2003 and 2007, when the pair were pupils of Adass Israel School in Elsternwick, part of a small enclave of ultra-conservative Jewish families in Melbourne’s inner south-east.

The jury found Leifer guilty of 18 rape and sexual assault charges and not guilty of nine.

She was cleared of all charges relating to a third sister, Nicole Meyer. The sisters have granted The Age permission to use their names.

Meyer, speaking on behalf of the sisters before the court hearing, said Leifer’s sentence was the conclusion of their decades-long battle to see justice done.

“Whether she wants to or not, she will have to answer for her crimes, she will have to accept what the judge says,” Meyer said.

“The judge will lay down the law … we’re very nervous but also there is that hope there.”

Read more ahead of the sentence here.

8.45am

Welcome to our live coverage

By Caroline Schelle

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the sentence of former principal Malka Leifer, who was found guilty of sexually abusing two former students.

My name is Caroline Schelle and I will be covering the sentence, alongside my colleague David Estcourt.

The lengthy campaign for Leifer to face justice will culminate today, when County Court Judge Mark Gamble sentences her at 9.30am.

Leifer, 56, was found guilty of assaulting and raping two sisters between 2003 and 2007, when the pair were pupils of Adass Israel School in Elsternwick.

Please be aware this sentence may include content some readers may find distressing.

If you need support, call the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732).

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