Mehajer ‘unlikely’ to get free legal aid
CASH-STRAPPED property developer Salim Mehajer is "very unlikely" to be allowed free legal aid to defend himself against charges of assaulting a taxi driver, a court has heard this morning.
Police prosecutor Senior Sergeant Amin Assaad told Magistrate Vivian Swain at Downing Centre Local Court it would be "very unlikely" the businessman would meet the means test to receive free representation to defend himself against charges he assaulted an stole from a taxi driver outside The Star casino.
The former Auburn deputy mayor has been left without legal representation after his lawyer Brett Galloway withdrew yesterday just before the hearing was meant to start saying he had been placed in an "ethical dilemma" and had been asked to, "take a position that was untenable".
But Mehajer gave a very different account of why Mr Galloway withdrew saying it was because he could not pay him as a garnishee order had been placed on his accounts following a unfavourable court judgment against one of his businesses.
Ms Swain fixed a new date for the court hearing of February 28 to March 2 telling Mehajer the matter will proceed, "whether you are represented or not, it's listed for three days and the matter will continue until it is completed."
Mehajer is accused of taking a taxi driver's EFTPOS machine and tossed it at his head in a scuffle at The Star casino in the early hours of the morning of April 2 last year.
It is the second time Mehajer has sought an adjournment on the day of the hearing - the last time it was because he was involved in a car accident while he was driving to court.
Last week Mehajer was arrested by police accused of staging that car crash to delay his court case and to defraud his insurer NRMA.
He was refused bail on the fresh charges and remains on remand at Silverwater jail.
Mehajer is also facing a separate hearing next month when he will contest a charge that he assaulted Channel 7 journalist Laura Banks causing bodily harm.
Seated in the dock Mehajer attempted to apply for bail again without legal representation.
Sen-Sgt Assaad told Ms Swain he could not make a reapplication for bail in the local court as it had been refused last week.
He said any reapplication would need to go to a higher court.
Ms Swain adjourned the matter to find out if Mehajer had a bail application before the court today.