The embezzlement trial of Guy Sebastian’s former manager has been told many arguments about who owed who money, a Sydney court was told.
But that was ultimately not what this case was about, Judge Timothy Gartelmann told the NSW District Court jury on Thursday when they retired to deliberate on their verdict.
Titus Day, 49, has pleaded not guilty to dozens of charges alleging he embezzled almost $900,000 owed to Sebastian through royalties, performance and ambassador fees.
Judge Gartelmann reminded the jury there was a civil lawsuit dealing with the money each man claimed the other owed, and that Day was not on trial for withholding money from the pop star either.
The Crown alleges that Day –a qualified lawyer who managed Sebastian via 6 Degrees between 2009 and 2017 – fraudulently and dishonestly embezzled Sebastian out of the money owed between 2013 and 2020.
The entertainer gave evidence that this included half the sum of $494,360 for accompanying Taylor Swift four times on her Red Tour in Australia in 2013.
The money was allegedly used by Day to purchase shares in My Medical Records, something Sebastian said he never authorised him to do on his behalf.
The pair’s business relationship ended acrimoniously after eight years and the musician sued his former manager in the Federal Court in July 2018.
Two years later he approached police when he said he discovered criminal behaviour.
This was done through Sebastian’s friend Tim Freeburn, who put him in touch with Detective Senior Constable David Murphy, with whom he played cricket.
Day’s barrister Dominic Toomey SC said Sebastian was evasive in the evidence he gave at the trial and clearly “had a barrow to push”.
“He had an agenda.”
And, Mr Toomey submitted that, far from being dishonest about certain payments, his client explained in black and white why he was withholding some of the money.
“He’s saying ‘I’m keeping it because you owe me money on these other things’.”
In a July 2020 police interview Day said the singer owed him $1.2 million in outstanding commissions.
Mr Toomey also suggested there was a conflict of interest with the officer in charge of the investigation having a social connection with the complainant.
Nearly two months ago the trial was unexpectedly halted following the death of the presiding Judge Peter Zahra who suffered a stroke.
The trial has since experienced several other delays and the discharge of jury members leaving 10 on the panel to consider a verdict.
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