The former deputy mayor of Auburn Council aggressively threatened the father of a Lindt cafe siege survivor at a Burwood gym and said he would find out where he lived and kidnap his children, a Sydney court has been told.
Salim Mehajer has pleaded not guilty to stalking and intimidating Bruce Herat, after Mr Herat, a personal trainer, asked him not to drop weights at Anytime Fitness in Burwood last September.
A two-day hearing at Burwood Local Court has begun and Mr Herat was in the witness box today, with Mehajer expected to testify tomorrow.
Mr Herat, whose son Joel was one of the people taken hostage by Man Haron Monis in the Lindt cafe siege, told the court he was training a client on September 16 about 9:30pm, when he noticed two men using leg machines in the weights area and slamming the weights down.
He said he asked them to stop.
A few minutes later he noticed a third man slamming the same weights.
The court heard that man was Mehajer, but Mr Herat said he did not know that at the time.
Mr Herat told the court he approached Mehajer and they had the following conversation:
Bruce Herat: I’m a personal trainer here and want to let you know I’d appreciate it if you didn’t drop the weights – it causes noise and damage and costs members in the long run.
Salim Mehajer: Who the f*** are you to talk to me? What gives you the right to tell me how to use this machine?
BH: I’m just letting you know the rules and directions of the club.
SM: F*** you, f*** Anytime Fitness. Don’t you know who I am? I pay my fees.
BH: I don’t know who you are, tell me your name.
SM: I’m not telling you my name. F*** you, you piece of s***.
Mr Herat said he raised his hand and said he would take the matter up in the morning.
Mr Herat said after the confrontation inside the gym, Mehajer also approached him in the car park.
“I heard yelling and shouting coming from the direction of the club and within a few seconds a person approached me,” he told the court.
“He came aggressively towards me and was six inches in front of my face.”
Mehajer said Mr Herat had targeted him because he knew who he was, but Mr Herat said he was unaware.
“He then said words to me like ‘this is not the end of the matter, I’m going to take it further, I’m going to find where you live motherf***er and I’m going to kidnap your children’.
“He shouted them at me, it was aggressive.
“I was shocked, absolutely shocked and I said the words ‘who are you?’ And he said ‘my name is Salim Mehajer’.”
Mr Herat said after the confrontation he got into the car and had to Google Mehajer’s name to find out who he was.
He said he contacted police straight away because of his son’s involvement with the siege.
Mehajer’s lawyer told the court he did not dispute a conversation happened, but would present a very different account of the words spoken.
The hearing is set down for two days.
This post originally appeared on ABC News.
© 2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. Read the ABC Disclaimer here.