Malka Leifer lawyers consider report on her fitness to stand trial

Lawyers for a former Jewish school principal accused of sexually abusing students are considering a surprise move ahead of a trial.

Lawyers for the former principal of an Ultra Orthodox Jewish school in Melbourne will be exploring her fitness to stand trial, a court has been told.

Malka Leifer, 55, previously pleaded not guilty to 70 charges in relation to the sexual abuse of three sisters who were students at the Adass Israel School between 2004 and 2008.

She faced a directions hearing in the County Court of Victoria on Thursday ahead of a trial slated to start next year.

“Considering your client‘s fitness to stand trial, is that a course that you are pursuing?” Judicial Registrar Matthew Phillips said in court.

“It’s still a course we are considering,” Mr Hill replied.

He told the court he would have an answer about a report for Ms Leifer when the case returned to court next year.

It was going to be a “particularly key issue”, Judicial Registrar Phillips said.

The trial is expected to last three to four weeks and has been set down for 2022.

Another directions hearing for the case will be heard in March.

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