Former Melbourne school principal Malka Leifer will face a bail and remand court on Thursday after landing back on Australian soil.
Ms Leifer, an ex-principal of a Jewish girls’ school in Melbourne, is close to completing her long-awaited extradition from Israel to face child sexual abuse charges.
She is expected to touch down at Melbourne airport aboard a connecting flight from Singapore on Wednesday evening.
Once she returns, she will go into mandatory quarantine for 14 days as required by all incoming prisoners.
The ABC understands Malka Leifer will be arriving in Melbourne around 9pm on a commercial flight. From there she’s expected to be taken under guard into quarantine. A filing court hearing will occur tomorrow via videolink. The time for that is TBC @abcnews
— Kristian Silva (@kristian_silva) January 27, 2021
On Wednesday, Melbourne Magistrates Court confirmed Ms Leifer would appear by video link before a bail and remand court on Thursday for an expected filing hearing.
One-time Victorian Attorney-General Martin Pakula welcomed the news Ms Leifer had finally been extradited.
“I’m sure those people who have been agitating and clamouring for her to return will be very pleased that at long last her day in court will come,” the sports and racing minister told reporters on Wednesday.
“I’m very pleased that has occurred.”
‘It’s an incredible day for justice’ as Israel extradites ex-principal #MalkaLeifer to Australia where she will face 74 counts of child sex abuse— @VoiCSA1 CEO @mannywaks says, ‘this is just the beginning and hopefully we’ll see the desired results at the end which is conviction’ pic.twitter.com/1Rkw2kTh0H
— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) January 25, 2021
It will be the first time Ms Leifer has been on Australian soil since 2008, when she fled to Israel after learning three of her former students intended to file a complaint with police.
The flight is the final leg of Ms Leifer’s extradition, which started with her boarding a Frankfurt-bound plane at Tel Aviv on Monday, just hours before the closure of Israel’s airports due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Pictures published by local media showed Ms Leifer about to board a flight wearing handcuffs and legcuffs.
She is wanted in Australia on 74 charges of child rape and sexual abuse stemming from her time as principal at Melbourne’s Orthodox Addas Israel School.
Long-time victim supporter Manny Waks said it was unclear how long her case would take to progress through Victoria’s legal system given its COVID-driven backlog.
Israel’s Supreme Court approved her extradition order in December and Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn approved the order the following day.
In a tweet, Mr Nissenkorn wrote: “I promised that I would not hinder the extradition order, and that’s what I have done. Malka Leifer’s victims will finally earn an act of justice.”
Ms Leifer’s final failed appeal followed 74 hearings in Israeli courts, which have been drawn out on the basis of her mental illness claims.
After fleeing Australia in 2008, she was first arrested in Israel in 2014 only to be freed from house arrest on the condition she undertook psychiatric assessments.
An independent undercover investigation proved Ms Leifer was feigning mental illness and she was rearrested in 2018.