Salim Mehajer denies breaching an AVO by messaging his former wife on Instagram.Controversial property developer Salim Mehajer has been found guilty of intimidating his ex-wife when he emailed and messaged her in 2017.
Magistrate Jacqueline Trad on Tuesday rejected Mehajer’s “confusing” and “self-serving” evidence that he hadn’t sent certain emails and an Instagram message to ex-wife Aysha Learmonth.
The magistrate found the 31-year-old guilty of intimidation but dismissed another charge of contravening an apprehended violence order, as the prosecution had not proven the AVO was served on Mehajer and that he knew its conditions.
The property developer had suggested Ms Learmonth could have used his phone to send the 5am Instagram message from his account in November 2017 – as she occasionally slept over during that time.
He told Burwood Local Court she’d continued to email and message him after she moved out of the matrimonial home in 2016 and was “flirtatious” during social gatherings at his home.
But Ms Learmonth previously told the court she hadn’t contacted Mehajer since leaving him and the Instagram message to her new business account made her feel uneasy and unsafe.
“I’d made every effort to have no contact with Salim whatsoever and having that business was the first time I’d put myself back into life basically, where he would know where I was,” she said.
The message congratulated Ms Learmonth on her new business and said he hoped she would one day realise the person he’d become.
The magistrate said it seemed to be a demonstration of being able to “access and influence her affairs”.
Ms Trad said an email which included an ABN search for the business showed a determination to remain appraised of Ms Learmonth’s actions.
The evidence of defence witness Mohammed Ghanem appeared contrived and didn’t stand up to scrutiny, the magistrate said.
Mr Ghanem told the court he’d seen Ms Learmonth twice during visits to Mehajer’s Lidcombe home.
He said on one occasion he arrived at the front door to see her and Mehajer “making love” on the couch. He later clarified they were “having dry sex”.
The magistrate found it interesting he was able to give quite a detailed account of an interaction which occurred before he got through the front door.
The matter is due to return to court on May 17. Mehajer will be sentenced at a later date.
Australian Associated Press