A high-flying Sydney politician, previously pictured with sports cars and luxury clothes, has been told he risks delaying a trial years in the making after he was refused public aid.
Former Auburn deputy mayor Salim Mehajer is alleged to have falsely signed the name of a former solicitor in order to witness his own signature on a document to the federal court.
The Crown will also allege Mehajer’s sister was involved in the forging of a second document used to try to retrieve monies from police. She is not accused of any wrong doing.
Representing himself at Downing Centre court on Thursday, Mehajer was told he risked jeopardising a trial intended to resolve the matters next month as he sought public legal representation.
The court heard Mehajer had been refused LegalAid on multiple occasions because he was unable to obtain documents, including bank statements and information about prior legal fees.
Mehajer told Judge Timothy Gartelmann he had been working with a bankruptcy trustee managing his affairs to procure the documents, despite being unable to do so before a previous trial in March.
Crown prosecutor Gilson told the court he was concerned – even if Mahejar provided the documents and was able to secure representation – that it could jeopardise the trial.
“This is being left two weeks before the trial is supposed to begin,” he said.
“One has to ask why the material hasn’t been provided at this stage.”
Among the issues was the origin of a $200,000 surety payment which Mehajer told the court had come from a second mortgagee of a property he owned, who had been overseas since 2018.
LegalAid lawyer Steven Doumit told the court if Mahejar could produce the documents, the public legal service could consider his application, but that if “questions arose” there could be delays.
The court also heard Mahejar had been ordered to stop discussing the matters with his sister, who had previously served as an officer of the court and had helped Mahejar relay documents.
The complication comes weeks after Mahejar was found guilty at trial – the first of four ongoing matters – of six counts of domestic violence against his former partner following an explosive three-week trial.
The court was told Mehajer accused his girlfriend of calculating an attack on him and falsifying screenshots of text messages. The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is not accused of any wrongdoing.
Mehajer repeatedly claimed in court that images tendered during the trial showing bruising and swelling he’d purportedly caused to the victim had been manipulated or tampered with.
He previously told the NSW District Court he intended to appeal the guilty verdict and was in the process of procuring a mental health report ahead of sentencing last this year.