Disgraced former deputy mayor Salim Mehajer sentenced to two years in prison for ‘complex web of lies’
Disgraced former deputy mayor Salim Mehajer is sentenced in court for two years for ‘complex web of lies’ – because judge rejects excuse for mental health
- Controversial Sydney businessman Salim Mehajer was jailed on Friday
- Disgraced former Auburn Deputy Major was sentenced to two years and three months in prison
- Mehajer will serve time to try to obtain bail under false pretenses
- The 34-year-old also has time behind bars on other matters, claiming he is bipolar
The ‘chaotic existence’ of controversial Sydney businessman Salim Mehajer did not inspire confidence in the judge who had sentenced him to at least two years and three months in prison for lying to the court.
The disgraced former Auburn Deputy Mayor, 34, was sentenced by NSW District Court Judge Peter Zahra to a total term of three years and six months for attempting to obtain bail under false pretenses to pursue his business interests.
Mehajer had pleaded innocently for disrupting justice twice and making false sworn statements, but Judge Zahra found he had falsified documents and claims.
He still faces separate charges in other cases, but for this court-only case, he will first qualify for parole on January 18, 2023.
Disgraced former Auburn Deputy Mayor Salim Mehajer (pictured with ex Melissa Tysoe) has been convicted of lying in court
Judge Peter Zahra sentenced Mehajer to three years and six months in the NSW District Court for attempting to obtain bail under false pretenses to pursue his business interests
Judge Zahra rejected evidence from medical experts that suggested he may have been affected by his mental illness, namely bipolar, saying Mehajer’s behavior had been carefully planned.
“In my opinion, he performed many willful acts over many months and was calculated and persistent,” Judge Zahra said Friday.
Mejaher showed a high level and detailed knowledge of the legal system in preparing his false statements and persisted with his false statements in cross-examination, Judge Zahra said.
“I accept the crown’s statement that he presented a complex web of lies that got to the heart of what the court is trying to judge.”
The allegations emerged as Mehajer attempted to change his bail terms between 2017 and 2018 for crimes related to domestic violence.
He argued that his curfew should be lifted in order to carry out his work as a building manager of a building in its final development phase.
But Judge Zahra found that he did not hold this position and tried to wrest it from liquidators and it appears to investors that he still had control of the towers.
He was concerned that his bail terms could frustrate his attempts to negotiate and settle financial disputes and tarnish his reputation for future investment opportunities, he said.
“His business and financial interests were paramount.”
Mehajer wrote a letter to the court expressing deep regret for his actions caused by immense pressure after administrators were brought in to monitor his development site.
Mehajer is still facing separate charges in other cases, but for this court-only case, he will first qualify for parole on January 18, 2023.
“I felt that I had just lost everyone’s money … a lot of families had invested their savings with me,” it said.
It also described his delusions after the failing real estate development.
“I was in denial and disbelief, my mind wouldn’t make me believe.”
He said that because of his high media profile, spending most of the past five months in isolation was one of the harshest and most difficult a prisoner could suffer.
Judge Zahra said he could not conclude whether Mehajer was repentant or understanding his insult and pointed to his “somewhat chaotic existence” as problematic in terms of rehabilitation.