Inquest hears sorry story from Sydney Siege gunman's lawyers

FRIENDLESS, unemployed and facing jail - Man Haron Monis's grandiose delusions of being a "big man" were all but shattered by the time he took his hostages.

A coronial inquest into last year's Lindt Cafe siege in Sydney has heard from Monis's lawyers, who painted a picture of the gunman's long-running paranoia.

Solicitor Franklin Arguedas said Monis believed Australian Customs officials were "setting him up" and persecuting him whenever he entered the country.

He made frequent and unusually short overseas trips between 2003 and 2007 to Fiji, Thailand, New Zealand, Singapore, the United States and Hong Kong.

The reasons for the trips have not been revealed.

On one occasion, Monis flew to New Zealand and returned immediately on the next flight, just to prove Customs officers were unreasonably targeting him.

"He would say he had an inkling, a feeling that he was being set up by the Australian Government," Mr Arguedas said.

The inquest heard Monis believed Customs officials hassled him in racist revenge for drug smuggler Schapelle Corby receiving a heavy prison sentence in Indonesia while Muslim Bali bomber Abu Bakar Bashir was let off relatively lightly.

By the time of his death, Monis had no money, no property and his attempts to develop a personal religious following had failed.

He had even failed in his efforts to become a bikie and was almost certainly facing a long prison term.

"His grandiose self-assessments of the past were simply not coming to fruition," counsel assisting, Jeremy Gormly said.

Mental health workers who worked with Monis will give evidence today.

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