Former Auburn Deputy Mayor Salim Mehajer was talkative but not tidy in his police cell, according to a former cellmate.
Former Auburn Deputy Mayor Salim Mehajer was talkative but not tidy in his police cell, according to a former cellmate.

Salim’s odd behaviour in jail

SALIM Mehajer liked to be naked in his police cell and didn't like to clean the toilet area, according to a former cellmate.

Mehajer, 31, spent four days locked up in Surry Hills police station after being charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and perverting the course of justice over an October car crash while he was on his way to court to answer an assault charge.

He was noticeably thinner when he has appeared briefly in court since then - but an interview in The Australian with the former cellmate Alex Arnold, 40, provides the best insight yet to how the controversial figure is coping as a prisoner.

"He was really, really lonely," Mr Arnold said. "He said he was going to neck himself if they didn't move someone in.

"I don't know if it was a figure of speech but he had some serious depression."

As a result he said Mehajer talked a lot - which he didn't mind - but he took issue with some of his other behaviour.

"He was lying around in just a towel with no underwear," Mr ­Arnold said. "Like one of those Egyptians."

But that was nothing compared with his lack of cleaning. The tiny cell had two beds and a toilet area, that stunk of faeces and urine.

"He should have done what he could to clean it but he was sleeping around half-nude so I cleaned it with bedsheets and two towels."

Mr Arnold told The Australian he told Mehajer he could trace all his trouble back to his infamous 2015 wedding that shut down streets in Lidcombe and bought him infamy.

"And he said 'Yeah, 100 per cent'," Mr Arnold said.

He believed Mehajer would struggle with life as an inmate.

"I don't think he's got it in him to do any serious jail - he's too polite and too feminine," Mr Arnold told The Australian.

Salim Mehajer will be back in court tomorrow.
Salim Mehajer will be back in court tomorrow.

The insight into Mehajer's life in a cell is a graphic illustration of how far he has fallen since his days of luxury in expensive homes and designer suits.

Mehajer has dodged time in custody several times, but his luck finally ran out when he was denied bail by Magistrate Jennifer Giles who said the case against him was "quite damning".

Mehajer then spent several days behind bars.

Mehajer had been brought up into the courtroom twice last week by male prison officers and placed in a glass-walled dock in the court. Dressed smartly in the same black suit he was wearing when he was arrested, and holding a white folder, Mehajer stared straight ahead as his lawyer Brett Galloway advised the court that he was withdrawing from the case.

Mr Galloway told her his representation of Mehajer might be "untenable" and he would have to withdraw due to an "ethical dilemma".

After he left, Mehajer told Ms Swain there weren't enough funds in his solicitor's account because following his arrest he had no access to telephones and that the account had been placed under a garnishee.

The following day he asked for a further delay in proceedings, leading to Prosecutor Amin Assaad pointing out this was the second time the proceedings had been delayed.

Mehajer told the court didn't have any legal representation. He said he had spoken with a legal aid lawyer, who "hadn't turned up", and asked for a further delay.

"It's been difficult to contact my legal representatives," he said.

Mr Assaad told the court he considered it "very unlikely" that Mehajer would "meet the means test for [legal aid] assistance".

Mehajer purportedly liked to lay around his cell with no pants on.
Mehajer purportedly liked to lay around his cell with no pants on.

By this time Ms Swain wanted him to be clear about a few things.

She fixed a new date for the 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."

When asked if he understood Mehajer simply replied: "Sure".

He had a few questions about some house keeping matters. Would the rescheduled hearing all happen in a row? He noted he had other matters before the court in February and March - both criminal civil - and appeared anxious there would be no clash with them, telling Ms Swain: "I don't have my diary to be sure".

Before the matter came to an end and he disappeared down into the cells again Mehajer had one last thing to say.

He wanted to know if he could apply for bail on the charges he was being held in custody for. He said the matter was supposed to be listed to be heard at Central Local Court, but when court staff searched they could not find a record of that.

He later said he needed to be released because he had a "number of commercial matters on foot" and custody was causing him "massive business disruptions", reported Channel 9.

To add to his misery, Mr Assaad cast doubt on whether or not he was even eligible for bail as a previous application had already been refused by the local court. That leaves a bid for freedom at the Supreme Court as his only option.

With the matter unable to be resolved in court the magistrate was forced to adjourn and is listed to appear at Burwood court tomorrow.



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