The former Melbourne school principal appeared in court to face extradition proceedings. (ABC News: Sophie McNeill)
A former Melbourne school principal wanted on 74 charges of child sexual abuse has appeared before an Israeli court, nearly four years after she was first summoned to extradition proceedings.
Australia has been trying to extradite the woman since 2013, but the 54-year-old has claimed she has panic attacks, anxiety and is too unwell to attend court.
Israeli police re-arrested her yesterday, accusing her of faking a mental illness to avoid extradition.
On Tuesday at the Petah Tikva Magistrates court, the former principal appeared in court for the first time, covering her face with her hands and crying.
An Israeli police investigator showed the judge video they filmed of the accused, saying their undercover operation had collected “lots of material that shows she was faking being mentally unwell”.
Yehuda Fried, the lawyer for the accused, challenged the police evidence.
“She was followed when she was just living her daily life,” Mr Fried told reporters outside the court.
“These kinds of things any normal people does, even a mentally ill person when they are not suffering from stress. Mentally ill people can also act normally.”
Yehuda Fried challenged police claims that the accused is not mentally ill. (Reuters: Ronen Zvulun, file photo)
But Mr Fried did confirm to the court that the accused’s panic attacks and anxiety occurred specifically around the time of each court date and psychiatric examinations.
He argued that his client was under great stress, was suffering PTSD and is still too ill to attend proceedings.
The accused’s lawyer also suggested Israeli police…