Court refuses aliyah for child sexual assault accused

Israel’s Supreme Court has issued a landmark ruling to deny aliyah rights to a British Jew who fled to Israel to escape his UK trial for sexual offences against children.

The ruling, which is testing Israel’s justice system to its limits, should pave the way for Todros Grynhaus, 48, a former Jewish studies teacher from Salford, to be deported to the UK to face his trial in Manchester next month.

However, lawyers for the alleged paedophile are planning to fight any extradition attempt by the Home Office, which could result in Mr Grynhaus evading his trial for multiple counts of sexual assault against three minors. Israel’s attorney general is due to give a final ruling on the case.

Last week, three Supreme Court judges unanimously rejected Mr Grynhaus’s citizenship bid and agreed that Israel’s Law of Return could not be used to evade prosecution.

It is one of only a handful of cases in Israeli history in which a Jew has been denied citizenship under the legal clause that he could be considered a danger to society.

However, Supreme Court judge Hanan Melzer cast doubt over the possibility of fast-track deportation, because Israeli law may only allow formal extradition. That process could take up to two years, with the possibility that Mr Grynhaus could released from prison during the proceedings.

Mr Grynhaus, who has denied all charges of sexually assaulting children, has been held in custody by the Israeli authorities since he fled the UK in February on a false passport.

He was arrested in Jerusalem after an international warrant was issued by British police.

At the time he was trying to board a bus with his wife and children, who had fled to Israel with him, despite Mr Grynhaus’s UK bail conditions which state that he was not allowed to leave the country or be left unsupervised with his children.

The Home Office appears to be unsure about how it will bring Mr Grynhaus back, and has refused to comment.

Mr Grynhaus’s lawyers now have 30 days to present arguments alongside Israel’s Interior Minister and the UK Home Office.

Last updated: 8:58am, November 1 2013