News State NSW News ‘Quite damning’: Salim Mehajer to remain behind bars

‘Quite damning’: Salim Mehajer to remain behind bars

Salim Mehajer
Salim Mehajer was involved in 'serious' car crash on way to court to face assault hearing last year. Photo: AAP
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Controversial Sydney businessman Salim Mehajer will remain behind bars after a magistrate denied him bail.

The 31-year-old had applied for bail at Sydney’s Waverley Local Court on Tuesday after being accused of staging a car crash last year to avoid going to court for a separate matter.

But Magistrate Jennifer Giles at a Wednesday morning hearing refused his application, saying Mr Mehajer’s alleged crime struck “at the very heart of the criminal justice system”.

Ms Giles said Mr Mehajer had not shown cause as to why his detention was unjustified and that she considered the prosecution case against him to be “quite damning”.

The former Auburn deputy mayor was on his way to face court last October over his alleged assault of a taxi driver when his Mercedes AMG collided with a Mitsubishi Outlander at an intersection in Lidcombe, in Sydney’s west.

He was freed by firefighters and taken to hospital, while his passenger and the occupants of the other vehicle – two women aged 31 and 32 – were uninjured.

The other driver admitted fault after the crash, the court heard on Wednesday.

Ms Giles said family members of the other driver were allegedly heard later in telephone intercepts to be claiming $10,000, saying they had helped Mr Mehajer.

A police strike force investigated the crash, and on Tuesday morning Mr Mehajer was arrested at a home in Vaucluse, while his associate Ahmed Jaghbir was also arrested at a Lidcombe property.

Both Mr Mehajer and Mr Jaghbir have been charged with perverting the course of justice and conspiracy to cheat and defraud.

Mr Jaghbir, 28, is defending an unrelated murder charge following the shooting death in March last year of Sydney underworld figure Kemel Barakat.

Mr Jaghbir allegedly said he was instructed to arrange the October collision to buy MMr ehajer some more time before his scheduled court hearing that day, the court heard.

Prosecutors allege Mr Jaghbir was a middle-man between Mr Mehajer and family members of the other driver, and that he texted Mr Mehajer his bank details after the crash, the magistrate said.

She said Mr Mehajer’s lawyer’s alternative explanation – that he could be the victim of an extortion attempt involving the driver of the other vehicle – was “in no way any kind of reasonable hypothesis”.

“Driving into someone and admitting fault is in no way any sort of grounds or leverage for extortion,” Ms Giles said.