Guy Sebastian’s longtime manager – who was once one of his best friends – has been found guilty of embezzling money from the Australian Idol winner.
A jury found Titus Day guilty on more than 30 of the 47 charges he faced on Thursday New South Wales Court case after almost a week of deliberation.
Day, who remains on bail for now, was previously found not guilty on three charges after being accused of stealing nearly $900,000 from the pop star.
The trial was beset with misery, including the death of original judge Peter Zahra, the resignation of five jurors from a panel of 15 and Sebastian contractor COVID-19†
Jurors heard the astronomical figures Sebastian was paid for performances, including $494,360 to support Taylor Swift on the four-city Australian leg of her ‘The Red Tour’ in December 2013.
Guy Sebastian (pictured with his wife Jules) accused his former manager of stealing nearly $900,000 between 2013 and 2020. Titus Day was found guilty of more than 30 of the 47 embezzlement charges on Thursday afternoon.
Titus Day (pictured) has been found guilty of embezzling money from his former star client Guy Sebastian. He was previously acquitted by a NSW District Court jury of three counts of embezzlement on the direction of the presiding judge
Sebastian charged $54,341 to sing at a wedding in Jakarta in July 2017, and McDonald’s paid the entertainer $66,000 to appear at a conference in September of that year.
The hitmaker also received $49,114.62 for singing at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium during the 2013 British and Irish Lions rugby tour.
Sebastian admitted that he had been given a boat, international air tickets and the use of two Toyota LandCruisers for himself and his wife in lieu of cash payment as part of ‘counter’ agreements with major companies.
Day led Sebastian for about ten years until November 2017, when the singer ended their arrangement in a bitter rift.
The court heard Sebastian subsequently found “abnormalities” in the financial records that indicated he still owed payments against Day and in July 2018, the artist filed a civil claim against him.
Sebastian later went to the police, resulting in the trial where each man accused the other of owing him money.
The court heard Sebastian subsequently found “abnormalities” in the financial records that indicated he still owed payments against Day and in July 2018, the artist filed a civil claim against him. Sebastian and Day are pictured
The amounts that Day allegedly embezzled ranged from $361.34 in royalties to $187,524 in performance fees. One charge involved a $21,000 ambassadorship.
Judge Tim Gartelmann ordered the jury to plead not guilty to three charges of embezzlement on June 9, after prosecutors admitted Day had no case to answer.
Those charges related to Day who allegedly embezzled royalty payments of $13,380.60, $936 and $361.34 between 2014 and 2020.
Defense attorney Dominic Toomey SC made the request for acquittal after the prosecution case ended, which Crown Prosecutor David Morters SC agreed to after admitting there was no evidence.
“There was simply no evidence at all that the accused committed the act alleged to be one of these offences,” Judge Gartelmann said.
Jurors heard the astronomical figures Sebastian was paid for performances, including $494,360 to support Taylor Swift on the four-city Australian leg of her ‘The Red Tour’ in December 2013
Judge Gartelmann also told the jury that if they found Day not guilty of any of the 47 remaining charges, he should also be acquitted of the corresponding backup charge of the minor felony theft.
Day gave no evidence at trial.
“The accused exercised his right to remain silent by not doing this,” Judge Gartelmann told the jury. “He was under no obligation to testify or call anyone.
“The suspect doesn’t have to prove anything…the fact that he didn’t call or provide evidence cannot be used against him in any way. No inference can be drawn from this.’
Morters told the jury that Day, who had to pay a 20 percent commission on Sebastian’s earnings, had deposited money into his account that should have been forwarded to the singer.
Day led Sebastian for about ten years until November 2017, when the singer ended their arrangement in a bitter rift. Sebastian is pictured outside the court
“It is clear from the financial records you have that he has distributed these funds in a way that was not in line with Mr Sebastian’s interests,” Mr Morters said in his closing speech.
“He actually embezzled Mr Sebastian’s money. He never continued to pay it as he was obliged to, he used it for other purposes.’
But Mr. Toomey claimed his client had an answer to every charge and suggested that authorities might have been seduced by Sebastian’s high profile.
Day told police the chart owed him $1.2 million in outstanding commissions.
“Why isn’t he getting busted for fraud because he doesn’t pay me commission?” Day told the jury in the July 2020 interview. ‘I do not understand.’
Morters unsuccessfully tried to revoke Day’s bail following the jury’s verdicts, telling Judge Gartelmann that convictions would likely lead to jail time.
Judge Gartelmann adjourned the court until Friday morning.
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