Sydney man Salim Mehajer, the former deputy mayor of Auburn in Western Sydney, was today sentenced in the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney, to 21 months’ imprisonment, to be released after serving 11 months. This followed the Court’s finding in April this year that he had committed 77 offences of electoral fraud.
His sister and co-accused, Fatima Mehajer, who pleaded guilty to 77 charges against her on 14 June 2017, received a suspended two-month jail sentence.
The charges relate to Salim Mehajer and his sister submitting 77 online applications to enrol or update voter details, which contained false address information, to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) in the lead up to the 2012 Auburn City Council election. The enrolment applications related to Salim and Fatima Mehajer, members of their family, and the general public.
The offences were committed pursuant to an agreement between Salim Mehajer and his sister to enrol individuals at addresses within the Auburn local government area at which they did not reside.
Both Salim and Fatima Mehajer stood as candidates in the election, with Salim Mehajer successfully elected as a Councillor on Auburn City Council. He was subsequently selected to become the Deputy Mayor.
In sentencing Salim Mehajer, Magistrate Schurr stated that “these matters fall towards the top of the scale of criminality for this kind of offence” due to the planning, the number of applications submitted to the AEC and the consequences of the offending, which included enabling him to stand for election with a group of candidates, some of whom were not entitled to stand for election in the Auburn City Council area.
Magistrate Schurr stated the “direct effect of the offences was that the reliability and integrity of the electoral roll was affected by the registration of persons based on false information. This strikes at the heart of the democratic electoral system”.
She said the indirect effect was “candidates stood who were not eligible because they lived outside the electorate and votes were cast (by persons unknown) at the subsequent election against names that were falsely enrolled in the electorate”.
In relation to Fatima Mehajer, Magistrate Schurr found her matter fell above the mid-level of seriousness and that the criminality had consequences for the electoral system generally, and that her brother benefitted with his subsequent election to Auburn Council. She also found Fatima was acting at her brother’s direction to support him.
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Summary of charges:
Salim Mahajer was charged with:
- 51 counts of using a forged document to dishonestly influence, contrary to sections 145.1(1) and 11.2A of the Criminal Code (Cth)
- 26 counts of giving false or misleading information to a Commonwealth entity, contrary to sections 137.1(1) and 11.2A of the Criminal Code (Cth).
Fatima Mahajer was charged with:
- 77 counts of giving false or misleading information to a Commonwealth entity, contrary to sections 137.1(1) and 11.2A of the Criminal Code (Cth).