Disgraced property developer Salim Mehajer told reporters he was ‘happy’ following his conviction for drug possession before pushing ahead with an appeal.
Mehajer was convicted on one count of drug possession and given a 12-month conditional release order after he fronted Downing Centre Local Court, in Sydney, on Wednesday.
The former deputy mayor of Auburn, 34, pleaded guilty after police raided his Lidcombe home and found opioid pills without a prescription in 2017.
Agreed facts state 63 Endone pills were found inside two bathrooms, his home cinema, wardrobe, basement and safe, The Australian reported.
Barrister Anthony Strik told the court his client had used the pills to manage his pain following back surgery in 2016.
He asked for no conviction to be recorded and told the court his client was not an addict and that Mehajer was currently on prescribed Endone following another surgery last week.
Mehajer had already spent time in jail after he was found guilty in 2018 of conducting an electoral fraud plot in 2012 that helped him become deputy mayor of Auburn City Council.
He was found guilty of 77 counts of electoral fraud and released after 11 months.
Despite Mehajer’s previous stint in jail, Mr Strik argued it was another matter to have a drug conviction.
‘To be a convicted drug person, that’s a different thing.’
Magistrate Susan McIntyre rejected Mr Strik’s request.
‘These are extremely powerful drugs and the sheer numbers of them alert the court to the misuse, and to a degree of criminality that must be attached to that offending.’
Magistrate McIntyre also told the court leniency was only considered for trivial matters and that Mehajer had a ‘history of offending over the last years’.
She convicted him, handing down a 12-month conditional release order.
Mehajer was declared bankrupt in 2018 with a long line of creditors, totalling about $25million owed including ACE Demolition which was owed $6.2million and the Australian Taxation Office which was owed about $8.6million.
He was also found to owe $743,000 to BMW and $100,000 to Mercedes Benz for the loss incurred on the sale of a repossessed car.