The secret footage that brought an alleged paedophile principal undone

Published on Apr 29, 2018
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The undercover operation to bring alleged paedophile principal Malka Leifer to justice Australian Story By Belinda Hawkins and Sarah Farnsworth The time stamp states it is 08:12:13 on December 18, 2017, and the person recording appears to be walking through a small convenience store in Immanuel, Israel.The picture is unsteady. Shelves stacked with random household items flash past on an angle until a man sitting at the cashier’s till comes into shot along with a number of ultra-orthodox Jewish men.Slowly, the jerky vision settles on a woman standing in an aisle and chatting to the cashier as she buys a loaf of bread and a container of biscuits. It is Malka Leifer, the former principal of the ultra-orthodox Jewish Adass Israel Girls School in Melbourne, who is wanted on 74 charges of child ual abuse in Australia.The footage, airing nationally for the first time on Australian Story, was captured during a secret surveillance operation to help Melbourne-based Dassi Erlich and her two sisters, Nicole and Elly, bring Ms Leifer to justice. The Justice Principle: Part 1 Watch the first part of Australian Story’s investigation into the Malka Leifer scandal on YouTube. The siblings say the abuse started when they were teenagers at the Adass Israel Girls School. The sisters allege Ms Leifer ually abused them between 2003 and 2007.Ms Leifer fled to Israel in 2008 and Australian authorities have been trying to extradite her for the past four years. She avoided extradition by claiming that severe anxiety and panic attacks left her mentally incapable of facing an Israeli court.According to Israeli law, hearings cannot proceed if the defendant is not present and, in 2016, the court suspended extradition hearings and ordered Ms Leifer appear before a panel of psychiatrists every six months.”She was claiming that she wasn’t able to understand what was going on; she wasn’t able to have basic human interactions; she needed a carer for her daily living,” Ms Erlich said.Ms Leifer’s lawyer, Yehuda Fried, said communication was difficult due to her mental state.”Throughout this court case, I managed to get two or three sentences from her and those too were unclear at times,” Mr Fried said.Which is why the more than 200 hours of vision of the mother of eight, leading a rather mundane life going about her daily chores, has led to a critical breakthrough in the case. Hidden cameras inside car keys, water bottles At the shop, Ms Leifer is being filmed using a minute camera hidden inside a water bottle.”A regular bottle, that you can fill with water and that you can drink from the bottle, but it has a camera inside,” private investigator Tsafrir Tsahi said.”Nobody would look at somebody with a bottle of water.” The filming is part of an undercover investigation organised by the global anti-child abuse organisation Jewish Community Watch (JCW) after Ms Erlich and her sisters met with I

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