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- Former Victorian premier attends Leifer sentence
- A timeline of justice delayed
- Judgment day for Malka Leifer
- Welcome to our live coverage
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Judge says victims’ credibility and reliability raised in trial
County Court Judge Mark Gamble has started the sentence for Malka Leifer, beginning with the verdicts the jury handed down in April this year.
The 56-year-old was found guilty of 18 offences committed against Elly Sapper and Dassi Erlich between 2003 and 2007.
He listed the charges Leifer was found guilty of; six offences of rape, six of indecent assault, three offences of sexual penetration of a 16 or 17-year-old trial under care or supervision and three charges of an indecent act with a 16 or 17-year-old under care, supervision or authority after a six-week trial.
“The credibility and reliability of each complainant was challenged by the defence and very much in issue, it is clear from the verdict delivered in this case that the jury accepted the credibility and reliability [of the victims],” Judge Gamble said.
“I must therefore approach this sentencing task on that basis.”
The judge is now going into the background of the case and the victim’s family.
Former Victorian premier attends Leifer sentence
The sentence for Malka Leifer is about to get under way, and more than two dozen people entered the courtroom on the third floor of Victoria’s County Court building just before 9.30am.
The three sisters, seated behind the prosecution and alongside detectives, greeted court staff and waved at supporters.
Former Victorian premier Ted Baillieu was warmly greeted by Caulfield MP David Southwick, who are both at the hearing and sat among supporters of the sisters.
Few seats were empty in the hushed courtroom.
The 56-year-old former principal is not attending the hearing in person, but via video link from the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre.
A timeline of justice delayed
Judgment day for Malka Leifer
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 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.
Sisters Elly Sapper, Dassi Erlich and Nicole Meyer arrive at the County Court this morning. Credit: Luis Ascui
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.
Welcome to our live coverage
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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